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Ninety pythons left to die in Swedish cottage

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14:49 CET+01:00
Ninety pythons, some dead and some alive, have been found in a cottage in Gnesta where they had been left to die, local animal protection authorities said on Wednesday.

"We found 90 snakes, mainly king pythons. Seventy-three were alive but in a bad state and 17 were dead," local animal protection inspector Monica Ängehult told AFP, adding that the discovery was made on Monday.

She said three dead lizards and between 50 and 60 dead mice and rats, apparently intended for snake food, had also been found in the cottage in Gnesta, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of Stockholm.

"I haven't seen anything like this before. It is not unusual that owners abandon lots of cats, but I've never seen this with snakes," Ängehult said.

Jonas Wahlström, a top animal keeper at Stockholm's Skansen zoo, said the live snakes "were in a terrible state. They had been abandoned for more than a month and were completely dehydrated."

Most of the snakes were common king pythons, but there were also a few rarer Australian breeds, Wahlström told AFP, adding that the snakes would be handed over to different zoos.

"There are so many of them that we may have to send some to zoos abroad," he said.

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