A Portsmouth woman opened her kitchen drawer to find a snake curled up inside.
Ann Plumridge made the shocking discovery as she was alone at home in Algiers Road, Copnor, at 10pm.
All she could do was call the police but as she waited for officers to arrive she went to neighbour Richard Sloper for help.
Richard, 30, an amateur snake enthusiast, spent 20 minutes coaxing the 3ft rat snake out of its spot with a toilet brush.
He said: ‘I love snakes and everybody round here knows I keep one.
‘Mrs Plumridge keeps birds and the snake was probably attracted by them.’
Mr Sloper – who already owned a 7ft python – later adopted the snake.