Neville Linton, 63, was out doing his weekly shopping like any other day. He did, however, make a “frightening” discovery in a broccoli box.
As usual, he had visited an Aldi store in the West Midlands of England to stock up on groceries.
However, when he went to prepare the meal a few days later, he discovered a snake inside the bag.
An ophidiophobe’s worst fear has come true. Linton’s fear of snakes was a major setback.
Snake Scares Off Grocery Buyer
Linton, a worker in industrial cleaning, was saved when his relatives swooped in and yanked the snake away from him.
A grandfather admitted, “It was pretty frightening. I’m not good with snakes. It’s lucky I didn’t just leave the broccoli out in the kitchen, or it would have been loose in the house. That would have been a huge risk for us because we have two vulnerable people living here.”
After finding the reptile, he called his 57-year-old sister, Ann-Marie Tenkanemin, who correctly identified it as a snake.
Shopper finds snake inside bag of broccoli from Aldihttps://t.co/bbkfJaSBIc— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 3, 2023
The two individuals put the reptile in a plastic bag and returned it to the Aldi store.
“I thought she was joking at first,” said Linton about Tenkanemin’s identifying the snake, “but I backed off when I saw it start moving. The guy in the shop was pretty frightened, too.”
Linton feels that he should have been compensated more than he was because his crippled son and his mother-in-law were the ones most at risk from the snake.
“It’s just not good enough — the implications for us if it had [gotten] out in the house are huge,” he said. “Plus, I’m phobic of snakes, so there’s the emotional impact of that, too.”
A spokesperson commented, saying, “Our supplier has never had a complaint of this nature and has robust processes in place to prevent such issues from occurring. We are investigating this isolated incident and have apologized to Mr. Linton that our usual high standards were not met.”
Please Identify That Snake!
Linton’s son Donovan, now 41 years old, said that a specialist at the Dudley Zoo had identified the critter as a young ladder snake.
Although they look terrifying and deliver painful bites, these creatures are harmless.
The countries of Spain and Portugal, as well as several regions of Italy and France, are frequently visited in Europe.
Hedgerows, woods, vineyards, rodent burrows, hollow trees, orchards, and rocks all provide ideal low-shade, cool settings for them.
Generally speaking, ladder snakes are lonely, aggressive, and defensive creatures. They scare off attackers by baring their sharp teeth and giving off a foul odor.
They’re carnivores, but they won’t go for humans. They prefer eating things like bugs, birds, spiders, lizards, and small mammals.
The Dudley Zoo has taken in the lizard responsible for the broccoli invasion.
But, as herpetologist Dr. Steven J. R. Allain has confirmed, it is a viperine water snake.
“Having reviewed the [actual] photo of the snake in the broccoli, I am not sure the zoo identified the species correctly,” Allain said. “To my expert eyes, the snake is in fact a viperine water snake (Natrix maura), which is a harmless fish-eating species found throughout southwestern Europe and northern Africa.”
How it might have wriggled into a broccoli is something he speculates on.
“Seeing as a large portion of the food grown and imported into the United Kingdom comes from the Mediterranean region, it is no surprise to find a species from this area turning up in some vegetables likely grown there. In my opinion, the snake was likely moving through the field at the time, before being scooped up by agricultural equipment, then seeking refuge within the broccoli.”
Not as Terrifying as They Appear
“Viperine water snakes are dangerous only if you’re a fish (or a frog). They do not bite humans as a defense mechanism (they’d much rather play dead), and they are regarded as non-venomous to humans.”
It is possible for these snakes to go weeks or even months without food, especially in cold places like a refrigerator, where their metabolism would slow even further.
The snake in question probably wouldn’t have opted to move from the balmy Mediterranean to a crisper drawer.
Allain’s goal is to increase knowledge of reptiles in general, regardless of species.
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People might be less afraid of these delicate and misunderstood animals if they knew more about them.
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