Detectives are hunting thieves who stole 38 snakes from a house in St Helens.
Crooks forced their way into a flat on Greenfield Road, Dentons Green, on Monday, March 16, and took the Royal Pythons snakes.
The animals can grow up to 5ft in length and are non-venomous.
The batch of snakes includes eight pregnant females and 11 young snakes.
Two men were seen leaving the premises with two sacks before making off in a dark coloured vehicle.
DC Neil Henry, from St Helens CID, said: “This is a large collection of snakes that the victim had been gathering for a while. Clearly, there is a specialised market for such snakes and we would appeal to anyone involved in the buying and selling of snakes to look out for any Royal Pythons that they may be offered and consider whether they may have come from this address.
These snakes, in particular the pregnant and young snakes, need specialist care and can grow to around 5ft in length. We are appealing for any help the public can give us to trace themDC Neil Henry
“These snakes, in particular the pregnant and young snakes, need specialist care and can grow to around 5ft in length. We are appealing for any help the public can give us to trace them.
“I would urge local people to cast their minds back to the evening of Monday, 16 March in case they saw the two males in a dark-coloured vehicle or remember seeing or hearing anything suspicious.”
A police spokesman said: “The Royal Pythons are non-venomous and extremely unlikely to pose any threat to the public. Officers believe they will be offered for sale to people who are experienced in the handling of snakes locally or via the internet, and that the snakes are unlikely to come into contact with the general public.”
Anyone with information that could assist the police is asked to contact St Helens CID on 0151 777 6843 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.