With snake sightings and an eventual capturing on Southampton Common this past week, our sister paper the Echo looks back at exotic beasts that have made good their escape through the years.

From slithering serpents to beer-drinking bears; this list covers a wide range of creatures one wouldn't usually expect to see in Hampshire homes or streets.

Did you see any of them? Do you know of any others? Let us know in the comments below.

Snake - August 2023

A large snake was spotted slithering across a footpath on Southampton Common earlier this month.

The python, believed to be around four feet long, was seen on Lovers Walk.

Southampton Reptile has confirmed the snake in question is a royal python - python regius.

University of Southampton student, 19-year-old Charley Peters found the royal python and was shocked to make the discovery.

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The snake is non-venomous and instead constricts its prey. In its native habitat - West and Central Africa -the species live in grasslands, shrublands, and forests.

The RSPCA were called but couldn't do anything as the snake could move by the time they arrived on scene.

One animal lover, Alissa Kingham, took matters into her own hands after finding the slithering creature in the wooded area opposite the Cowherds pub.

The 31-year-old University of Southampton employee created posts on Facebook in an attempt to find the owner. For now the snake is being cared for by rescue specialists in Berkshire.

Snake - August 2022

Astonishing images captured the moment an escaped 18ft-long python attempted to enter a home via a wide open bedroom window.

Residents in the Chandler's Ford neighbourhood were startled to see the huge snake slithering along a rooftop and forcing its way through an upstairs window. The creature weighed an impressive six stone (38kg) and posed a potential danger to those living close by.

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Worried residents inside managed to use a broom handle to fight off the albino Burmese Python and poke it back out, before it fell 20ft onto the bonnet of a car below.

A neighbour then looked after the huge serpent in her conservatory until it woke up.

The woman called the owner who turned up and took it back to his house a short distance away.

Snake – December 2020

Whilst making the rounds, an unsuspecting Hampshire gas meter reader got the surprise of his life when he encountered an unexpected reptilian roommate amidst the pipes. Slinking between them was nothing other than an unwelcome snake!

The man spotted the serpent nested inside a meter box in Beauchamp Avenue, Gosport and contacted the RSPCA.

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It was soon discovered that the surprise visitor was a corn snake, a non-native breed often kept as pets in the UK.

RSPCA inspector Hannah Nixon, rescued the snake before taking the reptile to a specialist centre.

Emu – February 2021

Authorities in the area of the A32 around Wickham Road advised drivers to be cautious and attentive when travelling, after a feathered fugitive was spotted in the vicinity.

Staff at the motorbike dealership Destination Triumph Solent spotted the bird and instantly became worried about a road accident taking place.

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They managed to subdue the frightened bird, which was more than 5-foot tall, and temporarily named it Dave.

They managed to restrain Dave for around an hour before police arrived on the scene.

The owner got in touch after seeing media coverage of the bird in a flap.

Rhea – October 2015

Police officers, firefighters and members of an animal management team joined forces to rescue an endangered rhea from the garden of one lucky homeowner.

Police were called when the man found the large bird in the front garden of his home in Trampers Lane, North Boarhunt, Hampshire.

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It was not known how the bird, nicknamed Snowflake, came to be in the garden.

The rhea is a large native South American bird which is a smaller cousin of the ostrich and it was believed the white female found in the garden might have escaped from a private collection.

Hampshire Police and firefighters were helped by the animal management team from Sparsholt College in capturing the bird.

Skunk - January 2009

Drinkers wandering out of a Southampton pub must have thought they were drunk as skunks when they saw an unusual animal crossing the street.

They might have expected to see a stray dog or cat – but they could not believe their eyes when the distinctive black and white striped creature walked in front of them.

The skunk was in fact a family pet who had temporarily escaped his home.

Janice and Chris Burgess bought Sparky for their autistic son Newton, 13, a year prior and the pair were inseparable.

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But panic was sparked after he escaped through an open door and after a week on the loose the family had almost given up hope of seeing him again.

Remarkably, he was found near the former VT site in Woolston.

Sparky’s return didn’t kick up a stink at the Burgess house, Woolston, as he had his scent glands removed before the legislation came in forbidding the practice.

Possum - May 2007

A startled Southampton resident could hardly believe his eyes as a furry head popped up outside his kitchen window. He initially thought it belonged to one of his cats, only for him to realize it was an unusual creature hitherto unseen by him.

However, he got quite a shock when the Antipodean visitor climbed in through the window and into a houseplant.

The pursuit was lengthy, but in the end, the mystery creature was apprehended and identified - not a cat as originally suspected, but a bush-tailed possum.

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The four-month-old male possum was taken to the RSPCA's Stubbington Ark animal home.

Unusually, it was not the first time a possum made a guest appearance in Woolston.

In October 2005 one of the cuddly critters was lured from a tree in Lyndock Place with bananas and grapes.

Natalie Rodgers, of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said that the only explanation for possum spottings in Southampton was that they were escaped pets.

Bear – 1877

For 30 years in the late 1800s and early 1900s The Bassett Hotel pub boasted of having a bear called Miskka, originally from Russia, which developed quite a taste for beer.

One day in 1877 she escaped and made a dash for the nearby common, but she was recaptured and returned to the pub.

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Unfortunately Miskka became dangerous and, due to fears of her breaking her cage again, was shot on July 18, 1907.

Miskka was stuffed by taxidermists and put into a glass case for all to see for many decades that followed.