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Python found lurking by ladies swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath

PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 June 2013 | UPDATED: 23:15 17 June 2013

Swimmers were unperturbed by the discovery of this 7ft python near the Kenwood Ladies Ponds on Hampstead Heath. Picture: City of London Corporation

Swimmers were unperturbed by the discovery of this 7ft python near the Kenwood Ladies Ponds on Hampstead Heath. Picture: City of London Corporation

City of London Corporation

A 7ft python has been found lurking in undergrowth by the ladies swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath - but regular water goers barely batted an eyelid over the reptilian discovery.

It is not known whether the python had been living on the Heath, or if it was an escaped or dumped pet. Picture: City of London CorporationIt is not known whether the python had been living on the Heath, or if it was an escaped or dumped pet. Picture: City of London Corporation

The reticulated python - the world’s longest breed of snake - is known to be an excellent swimmer and was found inside the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond enclosure behind a meadow.

But legions of loyal pond users were unperturbed as the reptile was discovered dead.

Adrian Brooker, City of London’s ecologist at Hampstead Heath, who removed the rotting python carcass, said: “It was about six or seven feet long. It had died about two weeks before and it was full of maggots.”

He added: “I would have thought it would have been seen if it was around the Heath. Pythons are not really used to our climate so it probably wouldn’t have survived long over winter, but if it found a deep enough hole it’s a possibility.

“These particular pythons are quite often kept as pets, they’re pretty harmless to humans.”

The snake was discovered on May 8 by a swimmer and was buried in woodland on the Heath days later once reports of missing pets had been checked.

It is not known whether the python had been living on the Heath, or if it was an escaped or dumped pet.

Catherine Cinnamon, of the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association, said: “The dead ones can’t harm you! Nobody has mentioned it among the regular swimmers. I don’t think we’d be bothered at all to be honest, I can’t imagine that anyone would bat an eyelid.

“We’re more worried about dogs chomping up the goslings in the pond, so we’ve put up net sheets - but obviously that’s not going to keep a python out!”

Grass snakes are native to the Heath and escaped snakes are found there about once every decade.

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