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Barming man bitten by snake in his back garden

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A father has been twice bitten by a snake that he found in his back garden - after mistaking it for a children's toy.

Jonathan Dring came home from work on Thursday evening to his property in Fant Lane, Barming, near Maidstone.

The cornsnake found in Jonathan Dring's back garden
The cornsnake found in Jonathan Dring's back garden

He said: "I opened the back door to take some recycling out and noticed something about 4ft long and orange.

"I have two young boys who often leave their toys outside and I just thought it was a toy, though I did think to myself, I haven't seen this one before."

He realised his mistake when he went to pick up the "toy" and was surprised at how heavy it was.

It bit him twice on the leg.

Mr Dring used the Internet to identify the creature as a cornsnake - a North America species that fortunately is not venomous. They usually kill their prey - they like to eat mice - by constriction.

Cornsnakes usually only bite if they are frightened
Cornsnakes usually only bite if they are frightened

Mr Dring said: "As soon as I discovered it was not venomous, I stopped worrying, but my leg did swell up a lot initially. It's gone down now."

Mr Dring believes the snake must have been someone's pet that escaped, but an appeal on his local Facebook group failed to find its owner.

He said: "We know most of our neighbours and none of them keeps snakes.

"Eventually I found a reptile centre to come an take it away."

He said: "It's quite funny now; we have a good laugh about my thinking it was a toy. But my sons Rookley and Arlo are only six and four. I suppose if they had picked it up it might have been more serious. It doesn't bear thinking about."

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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