A SNAKE rescuer is warning residents about native species coming out of hibernation in a bid to stop the public disturbing them.

Sue Coleman, of Main Road, Dovercourt said she has already had a call from someone concerned after spotting a snake in their garden - which was a slow-worm and technically a type of lizard.

She said: “The weather is warming up and our native species of reptiles and amphibians will be coming out of hibernation.

“People are not very well educated about snakes.

“Many people don’t know what they look like, so I’ve uploaded some photographs to Facebook and asked if people see anything different to these to message me and I will tell them what to do and come and get it.

“And all of our own native species must be left alone to go about their lives.

“The most calls I get are about slow-worms because they are more common in people’s gardens - they like leaf litter and eat slugs.”

Sue, known as Snakey Sue, runs a snake sanctuary from her home where she currently has about 34 of the reptiles to look after.

Due to a lack of funds she can no longer take in any more.

But she is trying to raise awareness of native snake species to help residents if they spot a snake in their garden - and will go and pick up non native snakes if they are found locally.

She said: “I get calls every year when they come out of hibernation.

“They obviously come out and are a bit slow and people find them in their gardens.

“Someone saw a snake going by the side of a wall and said they saw this big snake - it was a grass snake.”

But Sue has also been called to pick up corn snakes found in gardens and even had a call about a royal python being dumped.