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Geraint ‘the snakeman’ Hopkins is well know in Wales as one of the foremost experts (herpetologists) on the care of amphibians and reptiles including snakes. He appeared on the Jeremy Vine show recently to give his verdict on the case of 31-year-old Dan Brandon who was strangled by his pet African rock python.

Speaking to Llanelli Online after returning from a call out at 9am today, Sunday (Jan 28) to attend to a dumped dead python on Neath Road in Crynant he said: “I was asked to go on the Jeremy Vine Show to talk about snakes following the tragic case of Dan Barndon in Church Crookham, Fleet last year. Dan had been keeping an African Python, which appears to have strangled him. The coroner said that the snake had given Dan a hug because he loved him. That is rubbish. Snakes have no maternal instincts. Snakes don’t recognise you. There is no such thing as a pet snake. This gentleman had a rock python, which was over 8ft long. When snakes don’t feel safe they want on hang on to you and tighten up. I believe the snake had a fright and tightened around Dan and he fell to the floor. His parents said that they heard a bang and he was on the floor. When he fell the snake had an additional fright and tightened up and crushed him.”

Speaking about the incident in Crynant toady where the snake was found dead with signs of abuse he said: “The problem we have now is that people may get frightened and start throwing their snakes out. A dog walker found the bag with a Burmese python about 14ft long on Neath Rd in Crynant. It was on waste ground. I had a call at 9 am this morning. There were two police cars there. It was a lovely snake. Sadly someone appears to have killed it and dumped it. My fear now is that more people will do this. It may have been a family member having seen or heard the report of Dan’s death panicking and trying to get rid of the snake. The RSPCA don’t take in snakes. I can take them in and get them rehoused. I would rather advise them to look after them properly. If anyone has any concerns or queries regarding snakes they may be keeping they can call me on 07879021348.”

Geraint’s advice is “It is against the law to allow or release into the wild anything that is a non indigenous species under the wildlife and countryside act. I understand some keepers may be concerned especially if they’re not experienced but there is no need for cruelty in any form.”
South Wales Police issued the following statement: “South Wales Police received a report of a dead snake found in Abernant, Cynant on 28/01/2018 08:46
Police were advised that the snake was a 13ft-14ft white and yellow, Burmese python. Police are attempting to locate its owner and asking anyone with information to call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 quoting occurrence: 1800033717.”

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