A GROUP of children playing in woodland had the shock of their life when they stumbled across a snake in the grass.

The friends found the eight-foot long python in Greystones Woodland in Grangetown, between Middlesbrough and Redcar.

The snake, which is believed to have been abandoned by its owner, was safely moved to a wheelie bin before being picked up by wildlife specialists.

Fortunately, the children did the right thing by allowing the snake space and reported it to their parents.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's Grangetown Ward Member Councillor Adam Brook said: “It’s possible that the snake was released intentionally by its owner as there has been no reports of one escaping nor anyone come forward to claim him.

“It may be due to current financial circumstances brought on by Covid-19 and the owner just simply is not able to afford its care.

“Please follow the guidelines set out by the RCPCA when looking after these pets. They deserve loving homes like any other.”

Advice from the RSPCA website states that though snakes appear to be resilient on the outside, the species need the correct environment including heating and lighting and an appropriate diet to survive. Without proper care they become ill or suffer, and in severe cases, or if left untreated, they can die.

For advice on how to look after a pet snake, visit here.

If you see a python in the wild, do not approach it, please contact Cleveland Police on 101 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.