By Harriet Whitehead and Jacob King
An elderly couple have spoken of their shock after finding a 3ft-long snake in their oven when they went to cook some chips.
Philip Holt, 82, said he didn’t believe his wife Margaret Holt, 82, when she told him what she’d discovered the slithery guest in the kitchen of their home last week.
The pair called the RSPCA last Wednesday but at first they couldn’t see the snake – only discovering it when it returned two days later.
It’s thought the snake climbed through a wall cavity in the couple’s home and headed for the oven to keep warm.
Gran-of-two Margaret from Stockport, Greater Manchester, said: “It was a complete shock, I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.
“I was about to put some chips in the oven and it was just draped round.
“We’ve lived here for 60 years and we’ve had the odd mouse but never a snake. I was dumbfounded.
“I’d recently had a cataract operation and was on my way out to the opticians so I just shut the door and left it in there.
“I told the optician ‘I’ve left a snake in my oven’ and she told me to call 101.
“I called the police and the lady couldn’t stop laughing. I told her ‘I’ve not been drinking and I’ve just had my eyes tested and they told me how good they are’.
“We called the RSPCA and they came out but unfortunately couldn’t find it.
“I said to my husband ‘we’re not having oven chips’, so he went to the chip shop.
“On the Thursday I opened the oven door and it peeped out. It wriggled on to the kitchen floor and disappeared again through a gap under the oven.
“It’s a mystery how it got in, It could have been through an air vent.
“The RSPCA came on Friday and got it out using a pole with a hook on the end then they put it in a pillow case.
“I gave the RSPCA man a big hug and a donation – they’d done a good job.
“I gave the oven a good clean but I’m ready for another one to appear.”
Philip said: “At first I didn’t believe Margaret, I thought it must have been a big worm but she was right.
“It was a bit of a shock seeing it in the oven. I was surprised how big it was, It was amazing really.
“You could tell it wasn’t venomous and that it had been somebody’s pet, it wasn’t frightening, then it disappeared.
“Someone from the RSPCA came over but they couldn’t see it.”
Inspector Andy Harris, from the RSPCA, said: “When I arrived I expected to find a small corn snake but this snake was quite long – at least three foot.
“It was an African brown house snake, which is a non-venomous species, so I suspect that he is a pet that has escaped or been abandoned.
“I managed to coax the snake from the oven and was able to safely get hold of it with specialist equipment and then contain it securely.
“It must have squeezed through a wall cavity of this couple’s home and there is a hole at the back of the oven where the gas jets come up so was probably attracted by the warmth.
“It was lucky the couple didn’t pre-heat the oven first.”
Andy said the species of snake, which is usually found in Africa, is often very nervous but is not prone to biting.
RSPCA chiefs don’t know if the snake, named Sammy, is male or female. It is now being cared for by a reptile keeper.
Many of the snakes that the RSPCA’s officers are called to collect are thought to be escaped pets.
If anyone sees an escaped snake they can call the RSPCA helpline on 0300 1234 999.