A colony of eight-foot Aesculapian snakes that can squeeze a small child to death has been living in Regent's Canal in London.
While the snakes are not venomous, they are powerful enough to kill a cat or dog.
The Independent reports that the snakes have been spotted up trees, on rooftops and climbing up drains in North London over the past few weeks.
They are believed to originate from central Europe but their ancestors may have escaped from London Zoo several years ago.
Mum-of-three Sylvia Taylor, 33, told the Daily Star: "If they are capable of killing small animals then surely they could constrict small children?"
According to the Daily Mail, the animals face a possible cull after the London Invasive Species Initiative, marked them as a 'non-native species of high concern'.
Dr Wolfgang Wuster of Bangor University said: "Any attempt to eradicate the Aesculapian snake would require justification of resources to be devoted to an almost certainly non-problematic introduced species with little prospects of spread, as opposed to the many far more damaging species already out there.
"From a wider and more philosophical point of view, we should ask ourselves what we can really conserve."
Aesculapian snakes are among the largest snakes in Europe and juveniles can easily be confused with grass snakes. A colony of the snakes has lived peacefully in North Wales for decades after escaping from the Welsh Mountain Zoo.
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