Animal welfare officers are investigating after the misshapen, bruised and bloodied body of a snake was found dumped in a residential area.
The dead animal - a royal python - was found in Cwmbran, South Wales, with bruising to its head and body by a member of the public at Wool Pitch, in the Greenmeadow area of the town, last month.
Officers from RSPCA Cymru, which has launched an appeal for information, suspect the reptile, discovered on December 30, may have been badly beaten before it died.
The two-foot long snake was collected by an officer from the charity and examined by a vet, who confirmed it was dead and found it had blood and bruising in and around the mouth.
The RSPCA said the body was also misshapen and would not straighten in parts, and said it was looking to find the python's owner.
RSPCA inspector Izzi Hignell said: "This poor snake was horribly injured in what was a gruesome discovery in the Wool Pitch area of Cwmbran.
"This poor two-foot python was found in very poor condition, which could be consistent with a beating."
Anyone with information about the snake is urged to contact the charity's confidential appeal line on 0300 123 8018.