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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I found this corpse lying in the garden this morning. It is a good two feet long.  The head seems to have been bitten off. The first picture shows the belly. Later, I turned it over to show the back. I suppose it is a grass snake unless someone locally has been keeping an exotic pet.

Fairly clear that this is the work of a fox.

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Quite the find!

I'd be curious to know what species it is.

There are slow worms on Parkland walk, but this is far too large.

There is a colony of snakes on Regents canal near London Zoo. However, that is a long way, even for a bird of prey to carry a snake. 

Lots of questions.

Urghh, reminds me of the time I found a dead fox in my garden. I honestly didn't know what to do with it, but in the end I decided on a goulash!

I found what turned out to be a Corn Snake in Ally Pally a while back. I think the suggestion was it was a released or escaped pet. 

I’ve shared the photo with some herpetologist friends & we all agree it’s not a native species. The likely conclusion being that it was kept in captivity. What a sad end to it’s life. I really see no reason why it should be legal to keep exotic animals like this, they need extensive knowledge of their husbandry & it’s very expensive to buy all the necessary vivarium, heat lamps etc. Poor animal. 

Thanks for researching.  I wonder whether it's an aquatic species and a fox dragged it out of the New River.

In terms of UK species, it’s just the Grass Snake which is that length & swims. I’m fairly certain there isn’t enough of the right habitat to support a colony of Grass Snakes anywhere locally though. I’ve seen them swimming in River Cam on the very edge of Cambridge but that was adjacent to Stourbridge Bridge, so plenty of natural habitat.

Probably most likely that it escaped from someone local to you or they released it & then it’s been dragged to your garden. I can’t help feeling  it seems unlikely a fox/dog/cat would have taken the head off but I’m speculating about that. 

what did you do with it in the end? 

I did nothing with it. The following day it had disappeared, presumably by the same agency that brought it. Five foxes were spotted larking about in the garden yesterday morning.

As to the biting off of heads, I recall that many years ago when we kept chickens, they were more than once attacked by a fox. Several birds were killed each time and several had their heads bitten off. None of the dead birds were carried off, they were simply left as headless bodies. After that, I never much cared for foxes however beautiful they can be.

Maybe they bit the head off so the snake couldn't be identified by its fangs?

It would be useful to know what to with a corpse (bigger than a rat, for example) which may turn up in the garden, my garden isn’t big enough to just ignore it in the hope that a fox will remove it, and the soil is dry and hard as I have mainly shrubs and grass.

Report it via the Love Clean Streets app & the council/Veolia say they’ll collect it in a few hours. I used it to report a dead fox in Crouch End a few weeks ago.

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