THE RSPCA is issuing a reminder about the importance of maintaining and monitoring netting, after a number of animals get tangled up in recent weeks - including a snake in Monmouthshire.

Among the series of calls the charity received recently was a large grass snake entangled in netting at Llanddewi Rhydderch near Abergavenny on Tuesday, May 26. Thankfully, after what was described as a “long and delicate operation”, it was released safely.

Inspector Darren Oakley, who rescued the snake, said: “Outdoor netting has the potential to cause devastating and life-threatening injuries to animals. Fortunately, I was able to free this wild grass snake after a long and delicate operation in Abergavenny.

“However, not all animals are so lucky – and with many wild animals being nocturnal, some have been trapped and struggling for many hours before anyone notices they are there.

“We’re reminding anyone with outdoor netting to be cautious and ensure it is checked regularly – or where appropriate, replaced by structures like a solid metal mesh on ponds or near fruit. This could help save animals’ lives and help divert our resources to other animals in need”.

Wild birds – like gulls and pigeons – are too often victims of unmaintained bird deterrent netting, becoming entangled and trapped. In recent weeks, officers in Wales have raced to help gulls and a jackdaw in precarious situations.

RSPCA Cymru believes lockdown restrictions may have resulted in many netting structures being checked less regularly.

Members of the public who have seen a dead bird or other animal trapped in netting, or who are aware of regular incidents, can forward the address, property owner (if known) and date of incident to and the RSPCA can then seek to contact the owner with guidance about resolving the issue.

Animals seen entangled in, or trapped by, netting should be reported immediately to the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999.