Stray snake spotted playing with cat on busy night for SSPCA

John the snake is now at the Balerno rescue centre
John the snake is now at the Balerno rescue centre
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A STRAY snake has been 
discovered in a garden after a resident spotted a cat playing with the colourful reptile.

The man, who lives in Stenton, East Lothian, contacted the Scottish SPCA when he noticed the red and orange Everglades rat snake and a cat in his garden at The Crofts on Sunday night.

It was a busy evening for the animal welfare charity, which was also called to an Edinburgh supermarket toilet where a hamster suffering from a fatal tumour had been dumped, as well as rescuing four abandoned kittens from a stairwell at a block of flats in the Capital on the same night.

Last month, the charity was called to a field in East Lothian where a young pony had been abandoned. The animal later died of septicaemia.

The Scottish SPCA is seeking the owner of the snake, which is now recovering from his ordeal at the charity’s Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Balerno, where he has been named John.

Animal rescue officer Melissa Maitland said: “The person who found the snake believes it may have belonged to a neighbour who moved away two or three weeks ago.

“Unfortunately, we have no means of contacting this person, so we’re hoping they might recognise their pet and come forward.

“The snake is a red and orange Everglades rat snake, which is a common type of snake to have as a pet and completely harmless.

“He is quite skinny, suggesting he may have been straying for some time, and he’s also been a bit feisty while in our care which might indicate that he isn’t used to being handled.

“We’d like to reunite him with his owner if he has gone missing from home, though we can’t rule out the 
possibility he may have been abandoned.

“If no-one comes forward to claim him, we’ll be looking to find him a loving and permanent new home.”

Anyone with information on the snake is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.


FOUR kittens have been dumped in a stairwell at a block of flats in Wester Hailes.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity was called to rescue the five-month-old cats after residents at the flats on Harvesters Way found the kittens on Sunday night.

Animal rescue officer Melissa Maitland took the kittens to the Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre at Balerno where they are all being cared for.

They have been named Fifi, Trixie, Ryan and Finn.

Ms Maitland said: “There were two males and two females and we believe one of the females may be pregnant, but this has not been confirmed yet.

“The people who found them said they were in a box at the bottom of the stairwell.

“They appear to be in fairly good health, suggesting they have been cared for up until very recently.

“It’s incredibly sad to see yet more animals being dumped at this time of year. Unfortunately, there is a minority of people who think pets are disposable items that can be thrown away when you’ve had enough of them.

“Hopefully we will be able to find all four cats loving, permanent homes where they will receive the care and attention they deserve.”

Pony left to die in field from septicaemia

A YOUNG pony has died from septicaemia after a member of the public found him lying in a field and struggling to breathe.

The resident spotted the black and white male cob-type pony lying down and in distress in the field between the A1 and the A1087 just outside Dunbar in East Lothian on December 12, and alerted the Scottish SPCA.

Scottish SPCA senior inspector John Toule immediately drove to the scene but the pony had already died.

A post-mortem examination has revealed that the six-month-old pony died of septicaemia and had not received the veterinary attention and proper diet he required.

Senior inspector Toule said: “The pony was found in an arable field and the gate had been left open on to the main road.

“He was first discovered on Tuesday, December 11, but the person who saw him assumed he had been put there due to flooding in nearby grazing fields.

“However, on the Wednesday morning he was found lying on the ground and struggling to breathe, and within half an hour he was dead.

“It is highly likely that he was abandoned as the owner of the field did not give anyone permission to leave their horse in there.

“We are treating this incident as a case of cruelty and we are very keen to trace this pony’s owner.”


A HAMSTER has died after being dumped in an Edinburgh supermarket toilet while suffering from a fatal tumour.

The pet was found by a shopper in the toilets of Asda at The Jewel in Brunstane on Sunday night and the Scottish SPCA was contacted.

Animal rescue officer Melissa Maitland took the hamster to the Scottish SPCA’s Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre at Balerno where he was found to be suffering from a large tumour. He died overnight.

Ms Maitland said: “The hamster was found in a plastic container along with some bedding and food. Whoever dumped him clearly had no intention of getting him the veterinary attention he needed.”