This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Lancashire has given many gifts to the world: uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh? Lancashire Hotpot? Blackpool? It's a place, anyway. Let's just say this: Lancashire is a place that exists.
Anyway, Lancashire has just put been well and truly put on the map, for once, because someone just dumped a 14-foot python in a canal. So now we know what the people of Lancashire get up to when they are not slicing potatoes to put on top of stews and saying "book" wrong: they are growing snakes to perilous sizes and possibly drowning them in canals.
As the Lancashire Telegraph reports, the reticulated python—one of the world's biggest breeds of snakes—was found dead by the Leeds-Liverpool canal this morning by dog walkers, because it's always dog walkers, isn't it? Dog walkers always find the bodies, or the severed limbs, or the python corpses. You never have to call the police because your cat found a foot frozen inside a well. You never have to get up at 6AM and let your goldfish out for a run and, along the way, find a blood swathe.
It's not documented whether the walkers shat themselves inside-out at finding a gigantic white-eyed snake just hanging out by a canal but it's safe to assume that: yes, they totally did. After they tidied themselves up and called the authorities, locals were quick to speculate as to how such a cruel and usual case of animal abuse could've happened in and around one of their canals.
Councillor Ken Moss said: "The general consensus is it has gotten too big for somebody and they have dumped it in the canal. If that's the case it's heartless, because we have a reptile shop in Rishton and they would have taken it.
"People need to be aware of just how big these animals can get.
"Of course, there could be a completely innocent explanation—" no, there couldn't, FYI, there absolutely could not "—but someone somewhere knows who that snake belongs to, and we are hoping to find out who."
While it's not thought the snake drowned (most likely it died before it was dumped), there is a chance it was left to die by the side of the canal and succumbed to the cold, with Moss adding: "The snake could not have lasted long in this weather." An autopsy found signs of respiratory disease, which could have contributed to the snake's death.
On average, reticulated pythons grow anywhere between 9 and 20 feet in length, and reach adult maturity at around three years, although the specimen found in Lancashire was aged between 12 and 15. Essentially: someone has been feeding that thing a fair number of rats or small rabbits or butter pie over the past couple of years, and knew what they were doing when they kept it healthy and alive that long, and when it came to discarding of the animal, chucked it into a canal. Why.
David McGlynn of the Reptile Wonderland store in Rishton told the paper it would cost around $90-a-month to keep a snake that large, saying: "I would not advise anybody to buy a snake as big as that. I know how much it would cost people."
He added: "When somebody found it, they came in the shop and asked if we had lost a snake. People automatically presume it's something to do with us, but it wasn't."
If it sounds like David McGlynn is annoyed because people keep finding massive dead snakes littered around Lancashire and assuming they are his, that is because this has happened before: in June last year, a decomposing 10-foot snake was found in a canal in nearby Huncoat. Which, given the unusual M.O. (large dead snake, canal, Lancashire), does sort of suggest that the same person is repeatedly growing and killing and dumping the animals somewhere vaguely near the area. Who are you, Accrington Snake Killer? And why are you such a dickhead?
If you know who keeps killing snakes in Lancashire, don't try to take them out on your own, you're not Batman.
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