Boa’s visit to B&Q condemned by animal charity


By Kirsty Topping

The SSPCA have condemned Chaz Watson for taking his snake on a shopping trip

A SNAKE owner has been blasted for taking his boa shopping in B&Q.

Chaz Watson, 46, strolled into the store in Dundee with five year old Gismo draped round his neck.

Fascinated staff and customers gathered to catch a glimpse of the 6ft reptile, with some even taking snaps.

Chaz was photographed beaming broadly in an aisle filled with screw drivers and spirit levels as young children stared on in awe.

But animal protection groups have criticised Mr Watson, claiming his antics could have put Gismo at risk.

Earlier the same day, the pair had been kicked out of a nearby Asda supermarket.

Mr Watson, who bought Gismo in December, said he had gone there to test the store’s ‘no dog’ policy “to the limit”.

Security staff at ASDA asked Mr Watson to leave after petrified customers had spotted him walking round the store with Gismo.

Customer Cory Campbell who was in the during the Sunday afternoon visit said: “I am absolutely terrified of snakes and there was this snake’s head just about two feet away from me.”

Mr Watson said his pet posed no danger to other shoppers and that he did not know what all the fuss was about.

“It was a sunny day and snakes like the heat so I thought I’d bring him out with me,” he said. “I just went to do my shopping and was leaving Asda anyway when security came up to me.

“It will not go near anybody if it is around my neck. It is not a problem.”

But Scottish SPCA Deputy Chief Superintendent Tom Gatherer said, “Removing a pet snake out of its controlled surroundings and exposing it to the unpredictable Scottish weather and a totally alien environment would certainly have put its welfare at risk.”

Critics also took to the internet to criticise Mr Watson’s behaviour after a picture of his visit was posted online.

One wrote: “He meant no harm but didn’t think about the effect his snake would have on a supermarket full of shoppers (no awareness).”

One wag even tried to draw attention to the political situation in the city, writing “It kind of keeps SNP HQ in Dundee in perspective. They will squeeze the life out of us into Eck’s pocket.”

However others came out on the side of Mr Watson. Another internet poster wrote “A lot worse has been seen in ASDA than a snake, like parents with their tribe of feral rug rats they call kids.”

Managers at both stores confirmed the unwelcome visit but declined to comment further.

A spokeswoman for Asda said: “We’d kindly ask Mr Watson to leave Gismo the snake at home in future, after all we’re a supermarket not a safari”

Boa constrictors are native to South America and can grow up to 14ft in length.

Captive boas can live for up to 30 years, with some known to live as long as 40.

They ambush their prey before crushing it to death with their powerful bodies then eating it whole. After feeding it may not eat again for up to several months.