Being Spooked by a Slippery Surprise

Imagine going about your regular grocery run, picking up broccoli, only to discover something that sends chills down your spine. That’s exactly what happened to Neville Linton, a 63-year-old man from the West Midlands of England. When he unzipped the bag of broccoli he bought from Aldi, he found himself face to face with a snake! As an ophidiophobic (someone with a fear of snakes), this was Linton’s worst nightmare come true.

A Tale of Courage and Quick Thinking

Thankfully, Linton’s relatives rushed to his aid and managed to take control of the snake before any harm was done. Linton’s sister, Ann-Marie Tenkanemin, immediately recognized the creature as a snake and together they safely transported it back to Aldi. Linton expressed his relief, stating, “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.”

The Impact on Fear and Family

Linton’s experience was not just alarming; it had the potential to be even more dangerous for his disabled son and mother-in-law. He believes that the compensation he received from Aldi was insufficient considering the potential risk to his family’s well-being. He expressed his concerns, stating, “The implications for us if it had [gotten] out in the house are huge. Plus, I’m phobic of snakes, so there’s the emotional impact of that, too.”

An Unusual Reptilian Encounter

So, what kind of snake was it exactly? According to expert opinions, it was initially identified as a juvenile ladder snake by a Dudley Zoo expert. However, herpetologist Dr. Steven J. R. Allain disagrees and asserts that it is, in fact, a harmless fish-eating species called a viperine water snake (Natrix maura). These snakes are found in southwestern Europe and northern Africa.

Demystifying the Fear

Here’s the reassuring news: neither the ladder snake nor the viperine water snake pose a significant threat to humans. They are not venomous and tend to avoid human interaction. In fact, they’re more interested in feasting on insects, birds, and even rodents. Dr. Allain hopes to dispel the fear surrounding these creatures, emphasizing their non-aggressive nature and their role in maintaining ecosystems.