A TRAUMATISED mother who mistook a draught excluder for a snake told today how the sight made her run out into the street screaming.
Christy Asalor is originally from Nigeria, home to fearsome species such as the black-necked spitting cobra, puff adder and carpet viper.
But a glimpse of bluish-grey snakeskin in the loft of her Aberdeen home caused immediate hysteria.
The 28-year-old fled the house with her seven-month-old son David and called the SSPCA.
Inspectors who arrived equipped to deal with a snake instead discovered a novelty draught excluder.
Speaking about her terrifying ordeal, Christy said she was convinced it was the real thing.
“I was putting things away in the loft when all of a sudden I saw a bluish, grey snake skin. It was really fat and scary looking so I jumped down the ladder and ran for my baby.
“When I looked back up through the loft, I couldn’t see it so I thought it had moved.”
The mother, originally from Nigeria, then frantically called her landlord who contacted the SSPCA.
“When they arrived they went up the loft and carried it down in a pillow case. I was screaming but all they kept saying was, ‘it’s a teddy, it’s just a toy.’”
“I was hysterical, I just kept screaming and running up and down my street. I didn’t believe them that it was just a toy, because it looked so realistic.”
Growing up in Kogi State in southern Nigeria, Mrs Asalor said she had seen snakes before but admitted that her experience with them had never been pleasant.
“I used to see them when I walked to school but I was always terrified of them. The memory of them in the grass has been etched in my head, and I was just as terrified as ever.
“The SSPCA told me that it could easily be a snake because they had seen them before. They said that it would be very sleepy because of the cold weather which would explain why it wasn’t moving when I first saw it.”
The optical assistant, who lives in Aberdeen, begged the SSPCA to take the “snake” with them.
“They took it away in the van because I couldn’t bear to have it in my house. I felt totally freaked out. I knew if they had left it in the attic, I could never go up there again.”
Animal rescue officer Karen Hogg said: “We’ve rescued hundreds of snakes from properties in all sorts of unusual circumstances, so we had no reason to believe this might not be the real thing.
“I’d brought gloves and a pillow case to enable us to handle and contain the snake safely, but as soon as we spotted it we realised the equipment wouldn’t be necessary.
“The poor lady was still very shaken, even after we’d removed the stuffed animal from the property.
“This callout really made us smile and given that we deal with cruelty and neglect day in day out, it was refreshing to go to a job where the ‘animal’ was completely unharmed.”
The snake- nick-named as Sid- is now living with the SSPCA in the Aberdeen Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre.
Officer Hogg added: “We are sure he will keep our office nice and cosy.”