A Borders dad has described his Easter as “a bit of a strange one” after his children discovered a seven-foot boa constrictor in their front garden.
Bruce Baker’s toddler was just a metre away from the snake when he was alerted to its presence at their Innerleithen home on Sunday afternoon.
Little Willow was in the garden with brother Jaxon and sister Chloe when they noticed the huge snake lying under Jaxon’s bike.
Seven-year-old Chloe called for her dad, saying: “Is there meant to be a snake outside?”
Bruce, 32, explained: “I’d just got back from the shops and had taken Willow out of her pram at the front door.
“I went in and the kids started shouting ‘there’s a snake outside the front door’.
“I looked out and there it was. It was underneath a bike my son had left there. Its head was underneath there and the rest of its body was round the side of the house.
“I definitely got a fright when I saw it. Willow had been wandering about in the garden and was standing a metre away when we discovered it.
“That was scary because it was huge and she’s tiny.”
Bruce called the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and was told it would be there in an hour.
He was advised to cover the snake with a sheet or to try and get it into a box.
“My neighbour came across to have a look, and we managed to get it into a plastic box,” said car technician Bruce.
“The man from the SSPCA said a bite from a boa constrictor is a bad one because they have teeth like fish hooks and just hold on, so I’m glad my neighbour had the head end.
“I’ve always wanted to hold a snake, just not in those circumstances.
“I was pretty shaken considering Willow was near it when I saw it, but the kids weren’t fazed in the slightest.
“They all just wanted to hold it or touch it.”
Although the snake is not venomous, boa constrictors attack their prey with their fangs and squeeze them to death.
SSPCA animal rescue officer Jamie Cameron said: “I attended a property in Innerleithen on April 21 after a caller reported a stray snake.
“The snake was an approximately seven-foot-long boa constrictor, and he has been taken to our animal rescue and rehoming centre in Edinburgh, where he is still being cared for.
“He is quite thin, so we believe he has been straying for some time.”
Jamie added: “This was the first snake I’ve had to rescue and I’m hoping it doesn’t get much more extreme.”