AN Alicante man got the surprise of his life when he decided to have a peek inside a large cardboard box dumped next to a refuse container.

He thought there might be an animal inside because a number of holes had been punctured into the cardboard.

After opening it up, his eyes clamped on a large snake and he quickly rushed the box to the Guardia Civil’s environment unit Seprona in Alicante.

Officers took care of the snake which ended up being one of the largest such species on the Iberian Peninsula known as a ladder snake.

Known as Rhinechis scalaris, it reaches two metres in length.

Its head is triangular in shape and it has some sharp teeth, and though not poisonous, it can inflict a nasty bite as they attack when threatened.

The snake was transferred to Benidorm’s Terra Natura park where professionals will take care of its needs.

Both Terra Natura and the Guardia Civil say that exotic animals should not be kept at home due to the need to handle them carefully and the fact they need special conditions to live a good life.

They also jointly appealed to people to not buy such animals as Christmas presents.

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