Yorkshire Water has urged people to be on their guard after a large snake – thought to be a Boa constrictor – was spotted at Swinsty reservoir.
The snake, which is not native to the UK, is believed to be someone’s pet, which has either escaped or been abandoned.
It was spotted by Ed Ryder, from Otley, who stumbled upon it while walking around the site with his girlfriend.
Geoff Lomas, site manager for Yorkshire Water, said it wasn’t the first time an exotic pet had been discovered across the company’s recreational sites.
“Whilst a Boa constrictor is unlikely to pose a risk to humans, a lot of people walk their dogs around the site and clearly small dogs could be at a small risk from such a predator,” he said.
“ With this in mind, we’re saying to people, please do come to the site, but please be sensible and exercise caution when out and about, ensuring all dogs are kept on a lead.”
North Yorkshire Police, the RSPCA and Yorkshire Naturalist Union have all been informed about the snake.
Yorkshire Water has urged anyone in the area who has lost a Boa constrictor to get in touch as soon a possible. They have also put up a poster at the site, detailing the sighting and urging people to display caution when exploring the beauty spot.