A stray black king snake has been rescued from a Neath garden and returned to his owner.
The reptile was found at a property in Bryn Terrace where the owner remembered that a neighbour was looking for an escaped snake.
An RSPCA officer made contact with the neighbour who confirmed that a black king snake had been missing since October 2012 and reptile and owner were reunited on Sunday, 10 March.
RSPCA officer Neill Manley said: “Surprisingly, the snake was in reasonable shape but this incident is a reminder to other snake owners that they must ensure that their animals’ accommodation is secure as reptiles like to wander into neighbouring gardens and houses.
"Thankfully this person wasn’t too alarmed by the snake and notified his neighbours, ensuring a happy ending.
“Snakes are not only good escape artists, they, like other exotic pets, have specialist needs and so are challenging to look after properly. They can be very expensive and time consuming to look after properly and so anyone thinking of taking on that responsibility needs to thoroughly research what it entails before deciding."
King snakes are kept by many reptile keepers and can reach large sizes. They are constrictors, suffocating their prey before eating.
In the wild they will eat other snakes, lizards, amphibians, rodents and birds whilst captive king snakes are fed mice or rats. They naturally occur in southern Arizona and northern Mexico and hibernate over the winter months.