AMONG the many to frequent the Mansfield Bar over the festive period, landlord Brian Lee had a very unwelcome visitor – a two-foot snake!
Mr Lee was down in the cellar on Tuesday afternoon when he discovered the Everglade Ratsnake.
And he admitted he got the shock of his life.
He told the Hawick News: “I was in the cellar and I’ve got various pieces of pipe lying around. I heard something fall and when I went to have a closer look, I picked it up and there was a snake inside.
“I couldn’t believe it and I got some fright. It’s not the usual kind of thing you find in a pub cellar!
“We contacted the SSPCA and they said it was probably someone’s pet, but thankfully they came and took care of it.”
The Everglades Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta rosselleni), which can be raised on a diet of rodents, originates from North America.
They attain an average length of between four and five feet and are usually found in the everglades regions of South Florida in open grassland, trees, shrubs and along water ways, although they are often kept as pets in this country.
Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer Mairi Stewart took the snake from the pub on Tuesday and confessed that it was one of her more extraordinary finds.She said: “It’s very likely that this snake is a stray as they are great escape artists.
“There are flats above the pub so it would have been easy for it to come down the wall and into the cellar.
“As snakes can go for quite long periods of time without eating, it’s difficult to say how long it had been there.
“The Everglade Ratsnake is not a breed I’ve come across very often but this snake is in good condition which suggests someone is missing their pet.”
Mairi is now appealing to anyone who may have lost their pet snake to come forward and claim it.
She added: “Hopefully, someone will recognise it but if its owner doesn’t come forward we will find it a new home.”
Anyone with information about the snake is asked to contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.