THE RSPCA is urging snake lovers to take some boa constrictors off their hands after a spate of rescues.

There are 26 boas currently being looked after at the charity’s reptile rescue centre in Braypool Lane, Patcham, Brighton.

Staff are running out of space to keep them there so they are appealing for people to look after them.

Manager Keith Simpson-Wells said: “The 6ft boa that we have was in a poor condition and suffering with what looked like a skin infection when it was abandoned.

“An RSPCA officer immediately took him straight to the RSPCA’s animal hospital in Putney for treatment.”

Snakes require a high amount of care with owners needing to feed them regularly and provide a large vivarium for them to live in.

Mr Simpson-Wells said: “If there is anyone out there who is used to looking after these wonderful snakes and would like to offer any of our boas a home, we would love them to pop in and see us.

“We have had a real spate of boa constrictors come in to the RSPCA through being abandoned, neglected or mistreated and it is heartbreaking. They are beautiful animals but they do need large vivariums due to their size.”

Heat sources, thermostats and UV lights are needed to look after the large snakes.

They are completely dependent on their owner to provide an environment as close as possible to their wild habitat.

This helps them stay healthy and allows them to behave normally.

RSPCA exotics senior scientific officer Nicola White said: “Without proper care the snakes can suffer from serious diseases, dehydration, injuries, parasites and, in severe cases or if left untreated, they can eventually die.

“Sadly the RSPCA is experiencing widespread neglect of reptiles and we are finding more and more are coming into our care.

“The main thing we want to stress to people who are thinking about bringing an exotic pet into their family is to research the needs of the animal thoroughly and make sure you can provide everything it needs for its entire life.”

Call 01273 554218 if you can help.