A SERPENT stalker could be on the loose, as reports have been received of large snakes on the Welshpool canal along with a near-miss attack.

A runner says she had a close encounter with a four-foot long black reptile.

Avril Jones, of Welshpool, once kept snakes as pets and is familiar with most native species, though she could not identify what attacked her.

She said: “I was running back to Welshpool and came to the first bridge. I slowed down and as I came out the other side I saw something huge.

“It was a black snake, it was wet so it had just come out of the canal. I must have scared it that much it just went for me.

“I jumped as high as I have ever jumped in my life.

“The bite missed me, but its body hit me, I looked back and it was going berserk.

“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

After the incident, Ms Jones attempted to identify the creature.

She said: “When the kids were little we had corn snakes.

“I see snakes all the time, they are normal grass snakes, but this one was slightly different.

“I was speaking to some experts and they said it could have been a Black Corn Snake.

“Adders are much smaller and grass snakes only bite when really startled.

“It was about four foot long, but I didn’t stay around.

“I have a Fitbit so I checked my heart rate after and it had spiked at 172.”

Ms Jones spotted the snake between the Flash Leisure Centre and Buttington Enterprise Park, and she is not the only person to spot potentially dangerous snakes on the canal stretch.

Welshpool’s Allan Williams spotted a diamond-backed creature three weeks ago while walking his dog.

“It came out the left hand side of the hedge and snaked across the path to the canal. It was this huge thing. Quite long,” he said.

“Its length was the full width of the towpath.

“It was white with black diamonds along its back.

“I suppose it was just sleeping and we must have disturbed it. It sounds like it was an adder.

“I didn’t think it was an anaconda or anything like that but I have never seen one that big before.”

Snakes enjoy basking in hot weather as they are cold blooded, if anyone spots one soaking up some rays, try to give it a wide berth as adders, which can be identified by a distinct diamond pattern, are venomous and grass snakes will defend themselves if threatened.