9ft python capable of eating a dog found in woods near Leeds

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A huge albino Burmese python has been rescued by a reptile handler after being found in woodland between Leeds and Bradford.

The 9ft serpent was one of two snakes - the other measuring around 3ft - spotted in and near Thackley Woods, between Rawdon and Idle.

Community Facebook groups Apperley Bridge, Greengates Matters and Idle Folk all shared images of the albino and common pythons in the woodland. They are thought to have been pets which either escaped from captivity or were dumped.

The smaller snake was captured first by a reptile handler before another experienced snake keeper managed to track down the albino, which was close to death.

Pete Schofield, from Bradford, has named the 9ft snake Lucky and says her body temperature had fallen to near-fatal levels when he rescued her.

Pete told the Bradford Telegraph and Argus that the python was 'huge' and 'could take a dog'. He also claimed to have found duvets and tubs of food nearby - suggesting the pets were deliberately released by their owners.

The RSPCA are hoping to take the snakes to an exotic pet centre for health checks before re-homing them.

Last summer around 10 snakes were discovered either alive or dead in Farnley and Pudsey after they were deliberately released in the Post Hill area. A huge rat snake was among those caught be reptile keepers.

Burmese pythons are one of the five largest snake species in the world, and are native to south-east Asia. There is also a large non-native population in Florida. Their average length in the wild is 12ft, but they have been known to reach 18ft. They mainly eat rabbits and poultry, but larger snakes have been known to attack pigs, goats and even deer.