A resident got a shock when he encountered bathroom scales with a difference - after finding a snake in his home.
Nathan Walker got a surprise in the early hours when he spotted the slithery guest in his flat in Thorney Close, Sunderland.
Having phoned the RSPCA and the police, Nathan and his mother were advised to contact the North East Reptile Rescue on Friday morning.
It was initially thought the snake could be a Boa Constrictor after photographs were sent to the Hartlepool-based not-for-profit organisation.
Nathan said: “I was watching a film at 2.30am and went into the bathroom and there was a snake behind the toilet.
“I was really shocked and I ran out into the street to ring for help.”
I was watching a film at 2.30am and went into the bathroom and there was a snake behind the toilet – I was really shocked and I ran out into the street to ring for helpNathan Walker
When trustee Joe Griffin arrived at Nathan’s address mid-morning to collect the reptile, it soon became clear that it was a relatively harmless North American corn snake.
Joe said: “This lad had a bit of a scare in the early hours of the morning, when he found a corn snake inside his house.
“From the pictures it looked as though it was a Boa Constrictor, but seeing it, it’s clear it is a corn snake, probably a male.
“They are pretty harmless and probably the most commonly kept snakes in this country as a pet, because they don’t grow to huge sizes.”
Joe said it is highly likely that it has escaped from an owner in the immediate vicinity, in the last couple of months.
“They are very well known for being escape artists,” he said.
“It has probably escaped form one of the neighbouring properties, because most modern houses have cavity walls and they can get into the lofts.
The snake is now being looked after at the rescue.
If the owner cannot be found it will be re-homed once it has built up its strength.
“It’s lethargic and doesn’t have a lot of strength
“It looks pretty dehydrated and it needs a good feed.
“We are just going to keep it comfortable for a couple of days and then start feeding it very small rodents.”
The rescue can be contacted on 07922 953233, or visit www.nerr.co.uk