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Python found under van bonnet during MOT in Norfolk
22 June 2021, 20:03
A mechanic in Norfolk was given the fright of his life when he discovered a metre-long python under the bonnet of a van during an MOT.
The snake, whose name is Gav and belongs to the nine-year-old stepson of the Vauxhall Vivaro's owner, had gone missing two weeks ago after its tank was accidentally left open overnight.
It was found on Monday by a car mechanic working at CSN Autos in Wymondham. The Sunfire Royal Ball Python was curled up "chilling" on top of the vehicle's engine, the firm's owner Chris Newell said.
The worker who found the reptile "nearly had a heart attack", Mr Newell added, while also saying his reaction was "quite funny, to be fair".
"(The snake) was just sat on the engine, just chilling on there," he explained.
Mr Newell rang the owner of the van, Jim Catton, 32, and suggested he check his snake tank.
At first, Mr Catton and his partner Sophie Turner, 30, said they thought the garage owner was "winding us up".
However, after realising it was Gav, the 32-year-old Lotus Cars worker cycled to fetch his pet from the garage with a pillowcase.
Ms Turner said her son Ellis was "over the moon" to get the snake back. He first got it in May and named it after his late uncle.
However, Gav escaped after the nine-year-old accidentally left the vivarium door open a fortnight ago during a spell of hot weather.
"The snake obviously slithered out," she said, adding that her son's bedroom window was "wide open".
Ms Turner said she heard a neighbour's son scream that evening and wondered why, and the next morning her neighbour said the boy thought he had seen a snake.
They laughed about it at the time, she said - before realising that the python was missing.
She said they were lucky that their pet was still in the vehicle as they had been driving around in it for the last two weeks.
"Since then we've been out in the car - dinosaur park, Great Yarmouth, shopping, fishing, everywhere - the whole time he was obviously in the bonnet," Ms Turner added.
"Luckily we'd fed the snake. He had a mouse a few days before he'd gone and that would've helped with his survival.
"He went into the engine under the bonnet to keep warm. The fact he didn't drop out... I know snakes are nocturnal and they sleep during the day, we're lucky he didn't come out the bonnet at the dinosaur park or anything like that."
The basking zone for pythons ranges from 30C to 32C. They are not venomous and instead use constriction to kill their wild prey.
Ms Turner said she "felt bad" that they had not initially believed the neighbour's son who said he saw a snake.
"He was describing it like 'it was over a metre long, and it had patterns on it and it was yellow and brown'," she said.
"Me and his mum were laughing, and all along he was actually telling the truth.
"Honestly he was petrified, screaming, you'd have thought there was a murder in the street."