Snakes seeking new home this Chrissstmas
A snake named Sidney is hoping to slither into a happy new home this Christmas after being rejected by his previous owner.
The three-year-old reptile is one of two corn snakes being cared for by the Almost Home Animal Sanctuary in Moira along with six-month-old Rupert.
Sanctuary trustee Karen Matthews said the distinctive duo, with their bright orange scales, were "friendly boys" who would make "fabulous pets" for the right families.
Born "the size of a shoestring," corn snakes can grow up to six feet long and have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
Their docile nature and willingness to be handled make them one of the most popular pet snakes in the world.
Karen said she was looking for separate homes for both animals.
"It's hard enough to find the right home. We've had a few offers but it can be people saying we have 20 snakes already so what's another one," she said.
"We don't want that though. We're hoping for homes where there'll be no more than one or two other animals so they'll get plenty of attention."
Potential owners will need a decent vivarium - a reptile enclosure - and a steady supply of frozen mice.
"Sidney is great, very sweet natured and easy to look after.
"Seeing him in a vivarium is beautiful and he's so lovely to look at," she said.
For those who may squirm at the thought of a snake in their home or fear getting bitten, Karen insists corn snakes are ideal for busy households.
"They're not a lot of hard work and they're good for families with young children. I have a five and two-year-old who are well used to handling Sidney and Rupert," she said.
"Any animal can bite if they're not treated with respect. This means they can't be hauled about all the time and will need their space as well. We've never had a problem with either of them.
"There have been a few emails asking about them so far. This year we rehomed three bearded dragons to lovely homes so we're hoping we can do the same for Sidney and Rupert."