Sydney Shopper Surprised As Snake Slithers Out of Spice Rack

A snake was found slithering on a shelf at a supermarket in Sydney on Monday. The "slippery and rare customer" was discovered by a shopper in the spice aisle of a Woolworths in Glenorie, a suburb of Sydney in the state of New South Wales on Australia's east coast.

Helaina Alati, 25, was perusing the aisle when a python around 10 feet long "sort of hidden behind the spices" poked its head out from the shelf, Alati told Australia's 7NEWS.

Alati recalled: "I was browsing and turned to my left and he had come out and his face was about 20cm [nearly eight inches] from mine, just looking at me."

The BBC reported Alati is a wildlife rescuer and immediately recognized the snake was a diamond python. She knew it was non-venomous as it was protruding and flicking its tongue.

Alati, who said the snake must have been there for at least a few hours, told 7NEWS: "It was almost like he was asking me to take him outside!

"It was super mellow, not aggressive at all. I'm guessing he came down from the ceiling," she said.

According to 7NEWS, Alati said she is a former volunteer snake catcher and offered to help rescue the reptile.

"I told the staff I used to be a volunteer snake catcher so I grabbed my snake bag and relocated him into the bush."

Alati returned to the store with her snake bag and just "tapped him on the tail and he just slithered in," she said, the BBC reported.

A spokesperson for Woolworths told 7NEWS the incident was dealt with "quickly and calmly" by staff and the area was cordoned off for the safety of customers.

"A snake catcher removed the slithery customer, who was released safely into bushland shortly after," the spokesperson said.

It is unknown how the snake got into the supermarket, which remained open throughout the day. But 7NEWS reported Woolworths, which has thorough animal control measures in place, has done a precautionary check of the supermarket's processes.

Alati said: "I'm glad I'm the one that found him, most people would have freaked out," adding the snake was "so relaxed."

"Don't want to demonise these beautiful animals anymore," she said.

Diamond pythons are found in large bushland areas and national parks in Sydney, but they're often "undetected because of their nocturnal, slow-moving habits," Sydney's Australian Museum explains.

During the day, they can be seen in trees and are occasionally found in roofs and rafters, according to the museum.

"Pythons are non-venomous but can inflict a painful bite. Teeth can break off and remain embedded in the victim," the museum warns.

A diamond python seen in Sydney, Australia.
A reptile keeper at Sydney's Taronga Zoo holding a non-venomous diamond python, pictured in October 2012. William West/AFP via Getty Images