A terrified family are living in fear of a 3ft snake which has lived under their floorboards for a year – and has already attacked their DOG.
The slippery creature – which is believed to be the pet of a former tenant – was last spotted slithering from an airing cupboard into a hole in the floorboards.
Mum Jackie Hebden, 46, and her four children then discovered that injuries suffered by their pet dog Bear had been caused by a snake bite.
The Staffie suffered blood loss, a swollen leg and potential muscle damage in the attack.
Panic-stricken Jackie says she has barely slept because she fears another attack – especially on her children.
She said: “We only realised it was here this weekend when my three-year-old dog, Bear, was bitten. He came downstairs from my bedroom and I noticed his leg was swollen.
“I know he likes to chase bees and wasps so I just assumed he had been stung. It was only when he laid down in the kitchen and we noticed the blood pouring from the wound that we knew this was something serious.
“We rushed him up to the vets and they confirmed it was a snake bite. That was when my eldest, Clint, went to look upstairs.
“The airing cupboard door was off its hinges and my quilt was on the floor. Clint inspected the cupboard and that was when it slithered out and made for a hole in the floorboards.”
“It hasn’t been seen since, though we know it’s still there. It was green and yellow, with a white tip. It was over a metre long.”Bear got bitten and we took it to the vets. It was them who said it was a snake.
“I thought initially it was a bee – as all of a sudden Bear was laid with blood everywhere.”
Jackie has lived at the property in Plymouth, Devon, with husband Daniel, 32, and children Clint, 28, Chloe, 15, Cobie, 19, and Rebecca, 27, since April.
The previous tenant, who kept snakes, was evicted a year ago but left the property in such a state it was only recently been deemed habitable again.
Jackie said: “We knew the previous tenant, who was evicted last year, had snakes but we were told by Plymouth Community Homes that it was just the one snake and that it had been removed.
“But, that’s clearly not the case.”
The family have since hit out at Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) and the RSPCA for what they call “a lack of support” in removing the snake from the property.
Jackie says they have been told to either catch the snake, take a picture of it or identify what species it is before either organisation will visit the house and assist with its capture.
She said: “Only once they know the species will anyone help – it’s ludicrous.
“No-one will help us as we don’t know what type of snake it is. We have tried putting food down for it to come out but we only have the one sighting.
“But if it can do that to a dog – then what can it do to us? That is our main fear – especially if we are asleep.
“We have just got to be very careful and can not leave the dogs on their own. My worst fear is for the kids. Clint and Chloe are profoundly deaf and my worry is that they won’t hear it coming.”
Jackie’s daughter-in-law Rebecca, who also lives at the property, added: “The snake has still not been caught; it’s still on the loose.
“It must have been living inside the house undetected for the past 12 months.”
Steve Ford, of Plymouth Community Housing, said: “Our housing teams have been working with the resident and RSPCA to ensure that the snake is safely collected.”
The RSPCA issued a warning advising people who find snakes to alert their neighbours immediately, and keep a close eye on pets and children.