A 16ft reticulated python capable of attacking a human has been found floating in a canal in Rishton, Lancashire.
The dead reptile was found near Norden Bridge by walkers on 1 March. An autopsy has found the python showed signs of a respiratory disease, which may have contributed to its death.
The snake measured more than 16ft 5in, is believed to have been between 12 and 15 years old and may have been living in the wild for a number of days before it died.
Police are investigating the circumstances which may have contributed to its death.
Ribble Valley Wildlife Crime Officer PC Carl Chew said: “Experts believe that a python of this size could have been capable of attacking a person so it is fortunate that no one came to any serious harm.
“There are specific offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and Animal Welfare Act in relation to releasing a python and we would urge anyone with any information as to where the python came from to contact us.
“It is a possibility that the python may have outgrown its home and owners can contact Pip Reptile Rescue if they require any help or advice about caring for or rehousing reptiles. Similarly, we would urge anyone thinking about getting rid of their pets, particularly those which may pose a risk to the public, to contact an animal charity for advice so that they can be rehomed safely and responsibly.”
Anyone with information can contact Lancashire Police on 101 quoting log number LC-20150301-0942.