A ‘QUICK thinking’ bar manager saved a snake from freezing to death after he found it lurking in his basement.
JeanYves van de Kieft found a cornsnake in the basement of the metre-long non-poisonous serpent on Wednesday, and at first thought it might be a rubber toy planted by a colleague as a prank.
His irritation turned to fear when the snake, dubbed ‘Monty’ by rescuers, began to slither.
The SSPCA praised staff at the Montague Bar in St Leonard’s, Edinburgh for their quick response in calling officers to the scene.
Mr van de Kieft said: “When I opened the door I thought it was a rubber snake, because my son has one just like it.
“So I raced upstairs to confront the barman on why he played a trick on me.
“He didn’t know what I was talking about, so he reluctantly came downstairs, and we both stood there thinking the other was responsible for the prank.
“Then it moved and we both jumped back, though I don’t think we screamed like girls.”
He continued: “It’s quite funny looking back on it now.
“I’ve never seen anything like it and we did get a real fright.
“A lot of our customers have been laughing about it, but I hope it never happens again.”
The manager, who has worked at the pub for two years, immediately called the police, who in turn called on the SSPCA to rescue the snake.
It is understood the snake slithered its way away from a local house and entered the pub through the drains.
It could have frozen to death in the chilly basement, as it was away from its traditionally warm habitat.
Animal Rescue Officer Steph Grant said, “Monty was extremely cold and is thin so could have been straying for a while.
“Snakes need heat and can’t survive for long in the cold and it’s very lucky Monty was contained by the quick thinking landlord so we could help.
“Cornsnakes are popular pets so it’s likely someone is missing Monty, although we can’t rule out the possibility of abandonment.
“I spoke to neighbours in the flats above the pub and no one recognised Monty, although they said someone had recently moved out so we are keen to hear from them.
“The man who found Monty didn’t seem fazed at all and said he originally thought someone had left a plastic snake in his cellar as a joke.
“We’re just glad we were able to rescue this possible escapee and our main priority now is to ensure Monty remains nice and warm and gains some weight.
“If no one comes forward, we’ll be looking to find Monty a knowledgeable new owner.”
The snake is now recovering in an animal rescue centre in Balerno.
Anyone who recognises Monty is being asked to call the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.