Police and animal rescuers were called to reports of a venomous King Cobra on the loose in a woman’s garden – only to find a plastic toy.
RSPCA inspector Martin Fletcher was on the scene in Workington, Cumbria on Wednesday (June 23) after an unnamed woman claimed the killer snake had moved.
The terrified woman was ‘spooked’ after spotting the snake in her garden, and phoned Cumbria Police for help.
King Cobras have enough venom in a single bite to kill 20 people or even an elephant.
Police took the woman’s report seriously and Martyn was sent to the scene in a bid to rescue the dangerous reptile from her home.
However, on closer inspection he quickly realised there wasn’t an imminent threat as the snake was one of the ‘plastic kind’.
The toy snake belonged to a child in a neighbouring garden, and the RSCPA inspector was still able to return the ‘snake’ to its rightful home safely.
Martyn said: “As the woman thought the snake had moved, the police took it seriously and called us.
“It’s really important in these situations to confine the animal as safely as possible, particularly if it’s suspected that the snake may be venomous.
“However, it didn’t take me too long to realise that this King Cobra was the plastic kind – thankfully too as they are deadly venomous snakes.
“Obviously we are trained to be able to identify snakes but it is not so obvious to members of the public – so I understand they may have been spooked by the sighting.
“It appears that the toy had come from children in a neighbouring garden – so the snake has now been returned to its home.
“I knew King Cobra snakes were deadly snakes but afterwards I found out their venom is strong enough to kill 20 men – maybe it was a good job I didn’t know that fact before I went.”
The RSPCA said they always recommend that anyone who sees an exotic snake to keep a safe distance.
Martyn added: “We do get quite a number of calls about animals in distress which actually have innocent explanations.
“They are genuine calls from well-meaning members of the public so it is all part of the job.
“I have been to a few snake jobs where they have turned out to be toys but have also rescued the real deal too – so you just never know what you might be dealing with.”
Get the latest news sent straight to your inbox for free with our CumbriaLive newsletter here.
Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you on the CumbriaLive website.
Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on email@example.com