There are many things you don’t want to find in the toilet bowl when you nip to the loo - a six-foot snake being pretty high on that list.
Unfortunately for Blue Cross volunteer Peter Edge, that is exactly what he found slithering around inside the bathroom of the animal charity store in Solihull.
The 30-year-old at first thought it was simply a plastic serpent that was part of an elaborate practical joke - until the slippery customer started to move.
He recalled: “When I saw it I was in shock more than anything else. It’s not every day you see something like that.
"I thought it was a rubber snake at first and then it moved its head.
"I called my assistant manager and shouted ‘snake, snake’.
"She said 'stop having me on’, but then she saw it moving and she knew I was serious.”
The pair managed to free the reptile’s tail from the cistern before trying to trap it in a picnic basket - but it simply slithered out of their grasp and disappeared down the u-bend.
The RSPCA and Severn Trent Water were called in a bid to locate the animal - that is thought to have got in through the toilet - but it has not been seen since.
Assistant manager Amy Wallis said they were now taking precautions to make sure the corn snake doesn’t come back.
She added: "We have kept the toilet door firmly shut ever since and keep checking to see if he has poked his head up again but we haven’t seen it.
"I like snakes but I was still terrified when stood face-to-face with one.
"We think it’s somewhere in the pipes.
"I only hope it doesn’t pop up someone else’s loo and give them a fright too.”