We had one of the strangest jobs we have had so far on Wednesday of this week. A customer wanted to hire a handyman to remove their bath panel because his pet Burmese Python had escaped from its cage and slithered under the bath. His hope was that our handyman would be able to remove the bath panel so that he could retrieve his snake.
Luckily, one of our handymen, Don, has had experience with snakes. His son used to have one as a pet! So he didn't mind offering his assistance in returning the serpent to its enclosure.
Unfortunately, when Don removed the bath panel the python was nowhere to be seen! It appeared as if it had crawled even further along the waste pipe than first thought and was probably behind the tiled-over mdf boxing that had been installed to hide the bathroom plumbing.
The customer then confessed that the snake had actually been AWOL for about a month and must by now be quiet hungry. Plan B was then to try entice the snake out from behind the boxing by dangling a fresh mouse in the proximity of the entrance to the boxing in the hope that he would show himself for long enough to be captured. Our handyman did not stick around for this part of the plan. He also didn't have the heart to tell the customer that one of the jobs we do quiet a lot of in London, is mouse proofing, and that in our experience there is no shortage of rodents behind the pipe boxing in London flats. So he shouldn't be surprised if his 5ft pet snake isn't in fact starving but does actually emerge from his den as a 10ft well fed snake when he himself is good and ready!
I'm not sure what sort of licences a person needs to have a pet python in London or any other reptile for that matter. But both myself and the London mouse population would certainly be interested to know how many escape and are never seen again.
I leave you with this conundrum; if you were a tenant in a flat and your pet python escaped and you never saw him again. Would you warn the landlord and the new tenants about their co-inhabitor when you finally moved out or would you just say nothing and hope the snake has moved out as well.