A shopper was shocked to find a snake inside a kettle he bought from Argos.
Barry Downes, from Paddington, London, arrived home on December 28 having bought the appliance from Argos in Kensington High Street in the Christmas sales.
When he opened the box, a small corn snake slithered out into his kitchen.
Mr Downes trapped the snake under a saucepan lid before calling the RSPCA for assistance.
RSPCA animal collection officer Ella Davies collected the snake.
“Barry must have been quite shocked when he realised there was a snake in his kettle,” she said.
“He explained to me that he had some problems with his sight so when he first saw the snake he thought she was string or part of the plastic packaging.
“Only when he picked her up did he realise she was alive.
“He said he liked snakes but wanted to confine her quickly as he was unsure what species she was.”
The snake, thought to be a baby, was taken to the RSPCA’s Putney Animal Hospital.
Mr Downes said: “I went down to Argos to get a new kettle. When I got it home I took it out of the wrapping, turned it on and realised it was working fine.
“I made a cup of tea and went to sit down to drink it. When I came back into the kitchen I spotted something on the floor.
“At first I didn’t recognise it as a snake so I picked it up to put it in the bin but then it started wriggling.”
The RSPCA said it suspects the snake snuck into the box in a storage warehouse.
“Corn snakes are talented escape artists so I suspect this little one has escaped from a vivarium somewhere,” said Ms Davies.
Anyone who finds a snake or stowaway animal is asked to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.