PET shop bosses are attempting to nurse a six-foot snake back to health after it was dumped on their doorstep overnight.

The boa constrictor was abandoned in a plastic tub outside Betta Aquatics in Elmstead Market.

Staff found it when they arrived at work on Wednesday morning.

After checking their car park CCTV, it was found to have been left by a man some 12 hours before it was discovered. He had parked too far away from the shop for his registration plate to be picked up.

With temperatures dropping to two degrees on the night, and the snake seemingly lifeless, staff feared it was dead.

The reptile’s condition has improved with the shop’s specialist care, however, staff are still unsure whether there will be any long lasting damage to its health.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Betta Aquatics owner Ivan Alcock said there were much better ways for people to deal with animals they could no longer keep.

“There is no need for people to drop them off outside the shop,” he said.

“If you are having problems and need to rehome an animal then come in and speak to us. We know circumstances change all the time and we won’t hold any grudges.

“If animals are left in winter then they have next to no chance.

“Another hour and this snake would have been dead.

“Neurologically, there may be some issues as a result of the cold.

“Obviously we don’t know what happened but they may have had it since it was a baby and probably got lots of pleasure from the years they did.

“They are not the most difficult or expensive snakes to look after - food and heating is relatively cheap and the initial cost will be the biggest outlay.”

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Mr Alcock said animals had been left outside the shop some half a dozen times in the past two years. Some have been successfully rehomed and kept as pets while others have sadly died.

“We are all animal lovers and we don’t want any of them to get hurt,” he added.

“Obviously we have our specialisms but even if it is something we don’t take then we will have contacts to help out.

“We have had people dump lizards along with £300 worth of equipment - it just does not make sense to do that.”

He urged anyone with any animals to go into the shop or call them on 01206 824376.