Pet cat Wilbur swallowed by python

wilber 292x300 Pet cat Wilbur swallowed by pythonA couple whose pet cat wandered into a neighbour’s garden heard it screaming in agony as it was crushed to death by a snake.

Wilbur the four-year-old tabby fell prey to a 13ft Burmese python which had apparently been left unattended by its owner.

Owners Martin and Helen Wadey banged on the neighbour’s door but there was no answer. It was two days later before the python’s owner Darren Bishop could be contacted by the RSPCA.

A scan confirmed that it had a ‘micro-chipped animal’ inside its gut.

At the couple’s home in Brislington, Bristol, Mr Wadey, 44, a lorry driver, said: ‘We don’t know whether Wilbur stumbled across the snake and it was an opportunistic kill, or if the snake was actively hunting him.

‘But either way, we heard the python’s strike from the terrified scream that came from Wilbur, and the cries as he fought for his life.

‘Then in less than a minute, all was silent. He never stood a chance against a creature with such immense power, Wilbur was crushed, asphyxiated and consumed whole. It was so traumatic for us.

‘The sound of his cries and the fact we were so close by but couldn’t help him has been very distressing.’

The Wadeys have launched a ‘Justice for Wilbur’ campaign calling for a change in the law to force pet owners to apply for a licence before they can buy large snakes.

Because Burmese pythons are not covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act, 1976, anybody can buy one from a pet shop  -  for around £130.

Mrs Wadey, 41, a human resources manager, added: ‘We do not want Wilbur’s death to be in vain.

‘We want those sorts of snakes to be licensed and for owners to be prosecuted if they leave them unattended as well as having to inform people living nearby that they own one.’

The RSPCA confirmed that one of its inspectors attended after the incident on June 25 and issued a verbal warning to the owner of the snake about ‘appropriate housing and care requirements’.

The Wadeys claim that the python was regularly let out into their neighbour’s overgrown garden, although it is not clear how it was prevented from escaping. Mr Bishop refused to comment.

Spokesman Jude Clay said: ‘The RSPCA is not concerned about people keeping exotic animals as pets as long as the owners are fully informed about what they are taking on and seek professional advice.’

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