Jill Stanton-Huxton asks:

Surely Mrs Hammerstein deserved a burial in the back garden rather than being thrown out with the rubbish (Tim Dowling, 12 March)?

To answer this question it’s important to remember that Mrs Hammerstein, despite her name, was a snake – and snakes in the wild have no tradition of burying their dead.

It’s true that  many snake-owners feel it appropriate to bury their snake upon its death; and that Dowling’s house has a garden, as revealed in previous columns, meaning this course of action would have been possible. Additionally, some councils request that people do not put their deceased pets in the rubbish (see for example Uttlesford council, which states that “pets are suitable for neither recycling nor landfill, and should not be left out for collection”).

With regard to Mrs Hammerstein’s specific expectations and the treatement she deserved, however, we can be relatively confident that she would not feel let down by the Dowling family’s treatment.