POLICE have captured a cornsnake which scared a group of children in Edinburgh
The escapee was spotted by officers in Wester Hailes after it was heard terrorising screaming children.
However, the feisty character was captured after the officers, who were on routine duty in Hailesland Grove, lured the reptile into a kit bag and gave it the right to remain sss-silent.
Jalapeno – named after the pepper due to its fiery disposition – is now being cared for at the SSPCA re-homing centre in Balerno.
Superintendent Dougie Lynch said: “We are used to dealing with a lot of slippery characters but a snake is certainly one of the most difficult captures we’ve had in recent times.
“Thankfully, the officers in attendance proved to be real charmers. Anyone who believes their cornsnake has gone missing should contact police or SSPCA immediately.”
SSPCA staff said Jalapeno was thin, dehydrated and “quite stressed”.
The snake may have escaped from home or been abandoned. Staff believe Jalapeno is around one to two-years-old, but the poor condition of the reptile could have stunted its growth, so it may be older.
It joins five other cornsnakes and two kingsnakes being cared for at the re-homing
Centre manager Diane Stewart said: “Jalapeno was very thin and dehydrated on arrival, suggesting he’s been roaming on his own for some time.
“Snakes need heat to survive so he’s lucky to be alive after being found outdoors in freezing temperatures.
“He seems a bit brighter after a night warming up in a vivarium on a heat mat, so we hope he’ll continue to improve.
“Owners should do research before taking a snake on and they should make sure they have the time, commitment and knowledge to provide them with the care they need.”
Centre staff will hold on to Jalapeno for seven days to allow an owner to come forward. If no-one claims Jalapeno, the SSPCA centre will find him a good new home.
In March, a landlord rescued a live snake from the cellar of his Newington pub after mistaking it for a rubber toy.
Montague Bar manager Jean Yves van de Kieft, 44, ran back up stairs to ask if his barman was playing a joke on him after spotting the reptile. But when they went back down into the cellar, they jumped with fright as the snake began to move.
Mr van de Kieft captured the cornsnake in a box and called the Scottish SPCA.
Anyone who recognises Jalapeno should contact the SSPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.