Staff in a Middlesbrough McDonald’s received a surprise guest on Saturday night when a snake was found abandoned in the restaurant.
The corn snake, thought to be approximately three-weeks-old, was found by a member of staff after it was abandoned on the side in a plastic takeaway tub in the fast food restaurant.
The member of staff contacted the RSPCA, who sent animal collection officer Shane Lynn to pick up the reptile.
Mr Lynn said: “It looks as though he’s been abandoned by someone who can no longer provide him with the care he needs.
“Unfortunately, this is something we often see happening with exotic pets and reptiles – and reports of animals being abandoned are at their highest this time of year.”
The RSPCA said there had been an 85% increase in the number of reports about dumped animals in the summer months.
Dr Stephanie Jayson, RSPCA senior scientific officer in exotics and wildlife trade, stressed that reptiles and other exotic pets were completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs.
She said: “We believe that people may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home.
“This is why we would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re the right pet for them.”
The abandoned snake was taken to a specialist where it would be cared for, before being either returned to its owner or rehomed.