It’s probably every child’s nightmare, to discover a python lurking inside the toilet bowl.
And that was the terrifying sight that confronted a five-year-old from Southend, Essex, when a massive snake was found after lifting the lid.
His mother, Laura Cowell, told the BBC how the toilet had been blocked for several days and was draining slowly.
The reason became clear when her son went to use the bathroom last week: a 3ft-long royal python.
Describing the unlikely scene, Laura said: “He was frantic, and shaking, and I could tell something was wrong, but that was not what I expected.
“I had to use a broom handle to lift the lid, then out popped its head and its tongue came out as well.”
It is thought the harmless baby python escaped when neighbours moved and old reptile tanks had been left outside with the rubbish.
Specialists from a local pet shop, Scales and Fangs, removed the snake.
Rob Yeldham, who owns the Leigh-on-Sea store, said: “I’ve done many snake rescues in my 10 years, but I’ve never had one in a toilet before. It’s definitely a first for us.
“I think the snake probably escaped and went down (the neighbour’s) toilet, and ended up in this one, as all the sewers are connected.”
Mrs Cowell was so “petrified” she put weights on the toilet lid for several days after the incident. Who can blame her?
After suffering some scale rot, probably from the bleach, the snake is being treated at the store and will be re-homed once healthy.
Typically “docile” in nature, royal pythons originate from West Africa.