A LARGS gran saved a SNAKE found slithering through Largs town centre - then discovered it was pregnant and set to lay 15 eggs.

Kim Watson helped rescue the rogue reptile after it was found climbing up a shop facade on Main Street last Saturday and took it to her home in Waterside Street.

The 65-year-old animal lover - who is an experienced reptile handler - this week hit out at the 'irresponsible' person who bred the animal and then let it loose, as well as calling for tighter controls around ownership.

Kim, who has over 30 snakes in her house, along with four dogs and two cats, said: "I was very upset to see this.

"Somebody sent me a picture of the snake climbing up the wall of the Maxi Nails shop in Main Street as they knew I keep them.

"When I got there a taxi driver asked if I was looking for the snake and he told me that the police had taken it.

"I have all the right equipment and was willing to take the snake until the owner was found as keeping it in a box is not the right thing to do it. It could also have died of stress if it was left on the pavement.

"The police were doing the very best they could under the circumstances and I explained that I was on the files of the SSPCA as I have been handed lost snakes in the past to look after them properly.

"Sadly the snake was not claimed within seven days, so I have kept her.

"I discovered that she is a corn snake, is pregnant and could have up to 15 eggs. She is very young and it is irresponsible to breed a snake when they are so immature."

Kim has named the corn snake Leargaidh - the Gaelic for Largs.

Among the mum-of-six's pets are a Royal Pythons, corn snakes and a nine-foot-long boa constrictor called Tabitha.

Kim says the animals have an undeserved fierce reputation, adding: "Snakes only bite if they are scared, cornered or go unfed - they are extremely affectionate sentient beings if they are looked after correctly."

Kim believes there is a worrying trend now with animal rights protesters putting pressure on insurance companies not to provide cover for exotic pet owners.

She said: "You are now seeing snakes being taken away and being euthanised because owners can't get policies.

"I have a friend in Fife who can't get his insurance renewed beyond October and he could have six snakes taken away and destroyed."

Kim, who is a full-time carer for her son, added: "Responsible snake owners have to invest in having all the right equipment and facilities and have enough room in their household - it is a real passion."