A blocked toilet is nobody’s idea of fun, but it turned into the stuff of nightmares for one five-year-old from Southend, Essex, when he lifted the lid to discover a three-foot-long python.
According to his mother, Laura Cowell, the toilet had been blocked for several days and the water wasn’t draining properly.
But she only discovered the cause of the problem when her son went to the bathroom last Wednesday and discovered the massive snake concealed inside.
“He was frantic, and shaking, and I could tell something was wrong, but that was not what I expected,” she said.
“I had to use a broom handle to lift the lid, then out popped its head and its tongue came out as well”.
Specialists from a local pet shop, Scales and Fangs, were called in to urgently remove the snake.
Rob Yeldham, the store’s owner, 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”.
It is thought the harmless baby python escaped when neighbours moved and old reptile tanks had been left outside with the rubbish.
“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”, Yeldham explained.
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It was unlikely the snake had been there long as it was healthy and not underweight, though it was suffering from scale rot, likely from the bleach.
Scales and Fangs will look after the royal python until it has recovered and can be found a new home.
As for the Cowells?
“The family were scared of course”, Yeldham said,
“But I told them that the snake was completely harmless”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, that reassurance wasn’t entirely satisfying. A “petrified” Mrs Cowell admitted she had placed weights on the toilet lid in that bathroom for a few days after the snake was discovered and removed.