Landlord Finds 4ft Snake Behind Fireplace While Working on House

A landlord developing a property in the northwest of England was "gobsmacked" after finding a four-foot snake native to the U.S. and Mexico curled up behind an electric fire.

The reptile, a desert kingsnake that is native to Arizona and Texas in the U.S. and parts of Mexico, was found on July 2 inside a home in Peckers Hill Road in St Helens, England, by a landlord who was carrying out work on a house after his tenants had moved out.

The snake, which is non-venomous, generally eats small mammals, birds, lizards and smaller snakes including rattlesnakes and coral snakes, according to Zoo America.

The owner of the house went to move the electric fire to replace it with a new one when he discovered the four-foot snake, according to a press release sent to Newsweek by the RSPCA, an animal welfare charity. It was first reported by the St Helens Star.

After discovering the creature, the landlord called the RSPCA for advice on how to handle the situation. The organization decided to send an inspector and animal rescuer, Anthony Joynes, to the scene.

Joynes, who said the landlord was "gobsmacked," revealed in the press release that he was surprised at the size of the snake and said that because the reptile was in such good condition it was likely to be a pet that had escaped from its home with a local resident.

"It is a more unusual species of snake for us to see and their diet consists of rodents, small birds, frogs, lizards and smaller snakes including rattlesnakes," the official said about the find. "I am not sure how it managed to get behind the fire but snakes are adept at squeezing through gaps and getting into wall cavities."

The snake discovered in St Helens was the third found in the space of a few days in the area, with Joynes involved in containing two of them.

On July 6, a royal python was found by a local resident slithering across a road in Mowpen Brow in nearby Knutsford. The woman put a container over it, before Joynes collected it.

A day later on July 7, a rat snake was spotted on top of a fridge at a home on Pimblett Road in St Helens, which was collected by RSPCA inspector Helen Smith, according to the charity's statement.

The snake was in good condition, but Smith said that the reptile, which feeds on rodents, was "very cold so needed warming up."

The owner of the rat snake informed the RSPCA that it was her pet and that it had escaped from her home, while Joynes said that the other two reptiles will be re-homed if their owners don't come forward to claim them.

Desert kingsnake found in St Helens2
File photo of a desert kingsnake photographed in southern Arizona. A landlord developing a property in the northwest of England was "gobsmacked" after finding a four-foot desert kingsnake laying behind an electric fire. Shoemcfly/iStock / Getty Images Plus