A woman opened her airing cupboard to find an escaped pet snake slithering underneath her vacuum cleaner.
Kasia Radochonska, from Southwark, London, was choosing shoes when she spotted the little corn snake slithering through the warm cupboard on Saturday February 16.
The snake, now nicknamed Mavis, is believed to be an escaped pet. If not claimed by anyone, she faces being rehomed by the RSPCA.
She said: “I looked at the vacuum cleaner and noticed something red, like rope. Then it moved and I thought: ‘Oh my god, it’s a snake!’
“I shut the door as I didn’t want her to go missing and I sat in the kitchen and waited for the RSPCA to arrive.
“I probably would have been more frightened had she been a big snake but she was only small. If it had been a spider, I would have run a mile.”
RSPCA animal collection officer Joe Tambini went to Kasia’s flat in Cadet Drive and collected the little snake.
Ms Radochonska knocked on doors in her block to find out if anyone was missing a snake, but no-one claimed her.
Mr Tambini said: “The snake was a bit cold, so I took her to RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital where she was put in a vivarium to heat up.
“People are always surprised to hear that we actually get called out to collect lots of escaped snakes who have gone wandering around the neighbourhood.
“They can slither out of their vivariums and into stranger’s homes. We’ve even had some hide for months before coming out later, much to the householder’s shock.”
The young corn snake is in good condition and, if not claimed by an owner, will move to an RSPCA rehoming centre to find a new keeper.
Kasia said: “I don’t know how she got into our flat, how long she’d been there or where she came from! You expect to spot a mouse in your flat, or a rat, or even a fox who might wander in off the street.
“But I never thought I’d find a snake under the hoover.”