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The Camden Creature

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Deano View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 Apr 2007 at 5:37am

Hi All

 

HereÆs a little story you may (or may not) find interesting.

 

 About 7-8 years ago I was working in Camden Town, right next to the canal. And some lunchtimes I would have a stroll along the canal towpath that went past London Zoo. On this particular day the temp was about 23-24oC  and some of the footpath was being replaced. As my friend and I strolled along, I suddenly noticed a snake head appear from under a cracked slab. I didnÆt immediately recognise the species other than it wasnÆt a grass snake or adder.  I picked it up and it was at about a metre long. I took it along to the study/teaching centre that was on that side of the canal (opposite side to ZSL),  thinking maybe one of their charges might have escaped. The man who answered the door protested that they hadnÆt lost anything and that there were snakes all along the canal bank and they lived in the burrows and ate the rats and said I should let it go. Okay if he was sure. And down a hole it went.

 

Now, I have just come across a picture that reminded me of that snake. It was a bit more grey but I think it was an Aesculapian Snake. What do you think guys an gals? Are they living and breeding on the Regents Canal?

Deano
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Deano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Deano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2007 at 6:05am

Thanks for that David,

I wonder if they originated from 'Palmers Pets' that used to be in Parkway. I remember going in there as a kid, on my way to London Zoo, and seeing exotic pets like cotton eared marmosets.

Deano
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Deano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Deano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2007 at 11:11am
Am I right in thinking the other population is also next to a Zoo. Coincidence?
Deano
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Alan Hyde View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alan Hyde Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2007 at 1:33pm
Funny you know, I've always been surprised that garter snakes have not established themselves in UK. I remember hundreds in pet shops in the late seventies and some must've escaped or been released. They seem very similar to natrix in their habits (Apart from the fact they give birth to live young).


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jimpklop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2007 at 1:52pm
I have read this several times and still cant make sense of it, this will probably irritate some people.

But are there two colonies of Elaphe Longissima in the UK? One in Wales one in London?

Sorry

James
Im Craving Adder's(www.jimpklop.moonfruit.com)
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Alan Hyde View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alan Hyde Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2007 at 2:26pm
Hi David, Tony.
The only thing I can think of is, perhaps those garters need a harsher winter in order to procreate? Or maybe the extremely high population found in hibernacula may have something to do with survival.

Tony, a dead BC must've been a sight! The only foriegn species i've ever found was natrix tesselata along the motorway embankment at Shepperton middx and european pond turtle also found in Shepperton swimming in the gravel pits.
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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2007 at 2:35am
hi all I think deanos got a good point abouts Palmers pet shop being part of the equasion as it was only walking distants from canal banks . But I have confession to make in the 1950s security at the zoo was so slack no cct unheard of , and  probably one keeper patroling now and then the whole zoo compound . Me and my mate both 12 year olds helped our selves to a green lizard a wall liz and +a baby adder from an outside round enclosure due to the lack of money as we could not afford the 20P for a lac viridis in Palmers pet shop so who knows what was taken and let out? I wonder if they still have this snake pit out side as what we used to call it . keith   ( self confessed reptile felon of the 50s)

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Deano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Deano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2007 at 11:19am

Hi Keith

No that round encloser (snake pit) is long gone.

Deano
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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2007 at 2:32pm
Hi deano when did the pit close ?  I must point out the adder was let free near High beech in Epping forest  after I took it to school and showed to all and terrorised a few girls with it , so it ended up a lot better of then living in the pit might be a few decendents still living there.  keith

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2007 at 4:55pm
innoccent m,lud.........    Dont think I see any Aescu how do you spell it snakes  either only walls greens adders and grass.If you got caught by the authorities today nicking them the punishment would more likly be a  2 month holiday in the West Indies or S Africa, unlike in the 1950s you got a good thrashing and sentenced to ten years in a secure mental institution unless it was a capital offence how I miss them good old Blairite  pc free  days .  keith 

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