Monster 16ft python found floating on Lancashire canal

A SIXTEEN FOOT reticulated python was found dead floating on a canal in Lancashire.
Horrified walkers spotted it near the High Street canal bridge on the Leeds and Liverpool canal in Rishton.
It could have been living in the wild for days before it died and could have attacked somebody, police said.
The reticulated python, one of the longest breeds of snake in the world, was found floating in the canal, and measured in at 16ft 5in after being taken away by a reptile expert.
It is believed to have been around 12 to 15 years old and showed signs of respiratory disease
which could have contributed to its death, an autopsy showed.
Officers are now investigating how the python came to be in the canal and are appealing for
anyone with any information to come forward. 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."
It is not known whether it died after being dumped in the canal, or it was left there while already dead.
Local councillor Ken Moss said he suspected the snake had been dumped after growing too big for its owner, and described whoever left it as 'heartless'.
He said: "The general consensus is it has gotten too big for somebody and they have dumped it in the canal.
"If that's the case it's heartless because we have a reptile shop in Rishton and they would have taken it.
"People need to be aware of just how big these animals can get.
"Of course, there could be a completely innocent explanation but someone somewhere knows who that snake belongs to, and we are hoping to find out who.
"The snake could not have lasted long in this weather."
An adult reticulated python, native to Asia, can grow up to 23 feet long and one the size of that found in Rishton would need to eat two to three rats every few days, or a large rabbit.
It would cost around £60 a month in food, plus maintenance, to keep, as well as an appropriate tank.
David McGlynn, owner of Reptile Wonderland in High Street, said: "The snake is a reticulated python, which is one of the biggest snakes in the world.
"I would not advise anybody to buy a a snake as big as that. I know how much it would cost people.
"When somebody found it, they came in the shop and asked if we had lost a snake.
"People automatically presume it's something to do with us, but it wasn't."
Mr McGlynn said he was confident the snake would have been dumped after it was dead, but added that it would have died within the day if it had been placed in the canal while still alive.
The snake was removed from the canal at around 5pm on Sunday.
Last June the decomposing carcass of a 10ft snake was found in the canal at Huncoat.
It was thought the animal had been dumped so its owner could avoid the cost of disposing of it.