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RSPCA called to report of six foot snake in Dartford

By Chris Hunter

An animal rescue worker who rushed to reports of a six foot snake in a garden was surprised to find a two-inch caterpillar.

RSPCA animal collection officer Monica Faloona raced to Phillips Close in Dartford after receiving the call from a member of the public who was distressed after discovering the “snake” at their home.

Despite their fears, the snake had been confined and so the RSPCA went out to collect the exotic reptile which was described as being grey in colour with black stripes.

RSPCA officers were called reports of a snake, which turned out to be an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar

RSPCA officers were called reports of a snake, which turned out to be an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar

Armed with her gloves, snake hook and snake bag, ACO Faloona attended and was met with the terrified caller, who refused to go into the garden.

ACO Faloona said: “This poor person was clearly beside themselves with fear and stayed upstairs and wouldn’t come down at all. I went out to the garden unsure what kind of snake I would find.

"But I was a little surprised to see a very tiny box placed over what was meant to be a two-metre long snake.

“I carefully lifted up the box and peeped underneath and to my surprise I actually found a beautiful Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar. They are obviously much larger than your usual caterpillar, but I don’t think we’ll ever find one two metres long.

“Even when I explained to the caller that it was just a caterpillar they were still very traumatised and scared, so I decided the best thing to do was to remove the little fella and release him at another location.

RSPCA inspectors were prepared to confront a snake. Stock pic.

RSPCA inspectors were prepared to confront a snake. Stock pic.

“Although this is the first caterpillar rescue I have been called out to, a few years ago I was called out to deal with a lizard which turned out to be a child’s plastic T-Rex toy. I guess it’s just all in the day’s work of an RSPCA officer.”

An RSPCA spokeswoman explained the confusion arose as the caller wasn’t a native English speaker and their description of the creature had been lost in translation.

The RSPCA receives more than a million calls to its 24-hour hotline each year - and while many relate to serious welfare issues, others provide some light relief for officers.

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