A six-foot boa constrictor is apparently on the loose in Essex.
The animal, thought to be someone’s pet, is not dangerous to humans but posters warn owners of small dogs to keep them on a lead.
Basildon Council has put up the signs – which feature a picture of a boa constrictor – in the Norsey Wood nature reserve near Billericay after a woman reported seeing the snake.
Daniel Hepplewhite, a reptile expert from Snakes Alive, said the reptile was unlikely to attack dogs.
“It will be more interested in squirrels,” he said. “It’s an arboreal species, so it’s probably up a tree.”
Mr Hepplewhite, 37, said the boa constrictor has not been sighted for three weeks.
“A lady phoned up a few weeks ago saying she saw a snake heading into the woods,” he said.
“She sent a picture, which is the picture on the poster.”
If the snake is a pet, it has either escaped or been illegally released.
A boa constrictor would be able to survive in the British climate until the winter.