Snakes on a plane! British officials make weird finds

British border officials lift the lid on their "weirdest finds".

London: British border officials said on Thursday they had stopped dozens of weird animals being snuck into the country -- including a boa constrictor wrapped round a man`s leg.

The UK Border Agency said it stopped a passenger travelling through London Heathrow Airport with his pet snake concealed as part of its crackdown on smugglers bringing in animals illegally.

They said they regularly come across such attempts, as they lifted the lid on their "weirdest finds".

One was a briefcase full of dead, plucked pigeons, leading to suspicions they may have been bound for a restaurant.

Officials at London Gatwick Airport were equally puzzled by the pair of old boots they found alongside them.

The briefcase remains unclaimed.

Another discovery involved what looked at first like a tiger skin, but turned out to be that of a domestic dog that had been painted.

Other finds include: two highly venomous snakes – a puff adder and a gaboon viper -- in a parcel from Tanzania; 1,000 live spiders, individually boxed, in a suitcase; and 26 rare birds of prey stuffed into plastic pipes flown in from Thailand.

At Gatwick, three rare Copes Alligator lizards were discovered inside a video tape.

Meanwhile at Heathrow, one passenger tried to smuggle in 40 rare and endangered parrot eggs, in a specially-made vest under his shirt.

And a sniffer dog found 42 dried seahorses, destined to be ground up and used as Chinese traditional medicine, on a passenger from Shanghai.