Watch the moment neighbours in Ipswich’s St John’s Road capture a 4ft long black snake

The snake captured by residents in St John's Road, Ipswich.

The snake captured by residents in St John's Road, Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Brave neighbours came to the aid of a father and his three young daughters who were left stunned when they discovered an exotic-looking snake coiled in their back garden.

Mark Sampson.

Mark Sampson. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The creature had caused quite a stir among residents in Ipswich’s St John’s Road last week as it was sighted on a number of occasions slithering around near people’s homes.

So when school caretaker Mark Sampson, 44, came face-to-face with the serpent, which was black and around 4ft long, on Sunday afternoon, he was determined to capture it and restore peace in his community.

“After running indoors and calming down I went back out to find it had come onto the Astroturf and was poking it’s head from behind some wood at me,” Mr Sampson said.

“Gaining confidence I remained in the garden joined by my daughters figuring it’s best to keep an eye on it so we don’t lose it again then found it in the house a few days later.”

Left to right, Kevin Wallace, Savannah, Matilda, Tabitha and Mark Sampson.

Left to right, Kevin Wallace, Savannah, Matilda, Tabitha and Mark Sampson. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Admitting he is “petrified” of snakes, Mr Sampson, who works at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Ipswich, put a cry for help on Facebook appealing for a “brave snake wrangler” to help.

And to the rescue came his friend Kevin Wallace, a zoologist from Otley College.

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With Mr Sampson and his three daughters, Tabitha, 14, Matilda, 12, and Savannah, 10, watching from the sidelines, he and another neighbour, who asked not to be named, managed to catch the reptile and took it to a wooded area in Ipswich to set it free.

The Star contacted snake experts to establish if it was a large grass snake or a Mexican Kingsnake.

The latter is native to the Sonora Desert on the Mexican-US border, and although not poisonous, they are constrictors which kill their prey by asphyxiation.

Richard Johnson, of the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, said from what he could see in the photos and video it was a Mexican Black Kingsnake.

“They are the most common black snakes to have as pets in this country. It is not a rare snake at all,” he said.

“They are not poisonous and very rarely bite. They actually feed on other reptiles. They normally grow to about four to five feet in length, so this snake seems to be a fully grown adult.”

Mr Sampson added: “It was the last thing I expected to see. If it’s a Kingsnake I have no idea how it got there.

“I was attempting to clear my jungle of a garden, but it was more of a jungle than I realised. My lesson is to keep my garden trimmed back.”

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