Stunned walkers have discovered the dead body of a 14ft. python dumped on the bank of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Ramblers spotted the giant snake near the High Street canal bridge on the canal in Rishton. The RSPCA has now launched an appeal to trace the owner.
It is unclear if the reptile, one of the biggest species of snake in the world, drowned in the canal or was abandoned there.
A local councillor, Ken Moss, is quoted by the national media as saying local opinion is that the snake was dumped after becoming too big for its owner.
Describing the owner as “heartless” if that was the case, he added: “The snake could not have lasted long in this weather.”
An adult reticulated python, which is native to Asia, can grow up to 23ft. long and one the size of that found would eat two to three rats every few days, or a large rabbit, costing around £60 a month to keep.