At a time when U.K. politicians are trying to squeeze budgets, British diplomats' big bill for re-stuffing an ancient anaconda has left some observers hissing.

A freedom of information request filed by British politics blog Guido Fawkes has revealed that the Foreign Office forked out 10,000 pounds ($16,000) to restore "Albert," a stuffed anaconda believed to have been donated to a British official in what is now Guyana during the 19th century.

British diplomats defended their decision to re-stuff the venerable serpent, saying "Albert" was an asset to Britain's diplomatic corps and was due for "essential maintenance."

But the Taxpayer's Alliance, a lobbying group, said diplomats might have been better off sending the snake to a museum.