An East Yorkshire couple are awaiting the intervention of trained operatives to banish a toad-eating serpent which has confined them to their Withernsea home, according to this chilling report.
Steven Leathley, his wife Christine and son Shaun dare not venture into their garden lest they are set upon by an adder which prowls the undergrowth in search of prey.
Mr Leathley, 57, reckons the beast became trapped in his garden a year ago when he put up a new fence. He said: "I first saw it last year, my wife didn't believe me but I was convinced. I used to be a boy scout so I know what an adder looks like.
"Then, this year, I saw it bite a toad, some time in late spring. The snake moved its grip and the toad jumped off, it died elsewhere. I know it's an adder because grass snakes don't have teeth."
He added: "I've seen the adder twice, it's brown and olive green. We particularly don't go in the garden on hot days because that's when it's active."
East Riding Council and the RSPCA are aware of the viperine menace, but have moved with less than lightning speed to contain the threat.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "Unless there was an animal welfare issue, we would not take any action. The best thing is to do leave the adder alone, as snakes do not seek out human company and are more frightened of you than you are of them."
Paul Abbott, East Riding Council's public protection group manager, offered: "We are liaising with both Mr Leathley and English Nature, on this unverified potential adder sighting, to find a licensed individual to move the adder.
He concluded: "English Nature has advised us that if a snake has found its way into a garden it will find its way out and should be left undisturbed." ®
We like the idea of an "unverified potential adder sighting". Presumably, when East Riding Council gets a "verified existent adder sighting", it breaks the wax seal on its ophidian emergency protocol and sends in the helicopter gunships.
Oh yes - thanks to Neil Adamson for the slippery tip-off.