THE RSPCA are investigating after snakes were left in a Buzz Lightyear pillowcase.

Thirteen royal pythons were found inside two pillowcases next to a bin behind Farringdon Fire Station in Sunderland on Thursday, February 13.

A member of the public spotted the pillowcases moving and saw the snakes inside. They contacted the RSPCA for help and animal collection officer David Dawson came to rescue the snakes.

He said: “When I opened up the pillowcase, there was a bundle of snakes inside. It must have been a very strange discovery for the people who found them. They were abandoned next to a bin round the back of the fire station and left in extremely cold conditions.

“Reptiles like snakes are completely dependent on their owners, who need to provide them with the correct environment, including heating and lighting, so abandoning them like this leaves them very vulnerable.

“It’s quite unusual for someone to have this many pythons and to abandon them in what appears to be a child’s pillowcase.

"We are now appealing for information, if anyone saw anything unusual in Station Road on Thursday evening, or if anyone knows anything about where these snakes may have come from, please contact us on the inspectorate appeal line on 0300- 1238018.”

The Northern Echo:

Sadly, one of the snakes died. The others are now receiving care and attention at a vets in Darlington before they are taken to a specialist reptile facility that will be able to deal with the large number of scaly customers.

Snakes are unable to produce their own body heat, so they rely on their environment to maintain their body temperature. As royal pythons originate from West Africa and are not native to this country, they would require a heated environment with the correct temperature range for the species in order to stay healthy and carry out normal behaviour.

If snakes become too cold, they may not be unable to feed or move normally, and their immune system will not work properly to fight disease, meaning the animal can become very ill.

Reptiles often end up in RSPCA care after people realise, they're not easy to care for, or once the novelty wears off. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when they take them on, as their needs are just the same as they would be in the wild and are fundamentally linked to certain behaviours, diets or environmental conditions that can be difficult to replicate in a home.

The RSPCA are urging prospective buyers to do their research before getting one.

For more information about the care of royal pythons please visit

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care visit their website or call their donation line on 0300-123-8181.