The RSPCA was called by shocked homeowners who discovered a snake whilst renovating their new home in Sorrel Court, Basildon.

The snake - identified as a rat snake - was discovered after knocking over a lit candle in the bathroom.

The reptile was eventually found in the top of the toilet, where he had dyed himself a slight tinge of blue from the cleaning products used in the cistern.

Fortunately the callers were able to contain the snake until RSPCA animal collection officer Joe White could attend.

ACO White said: “I’m sure these poor people got quite a shock when they discovered a snake residing in their toilet!

“It just goes to show every day is different for an RSPCA inspector - we never know what we are going to be called about.

“Rat snakes are kept as pets fairly regularly in this country so I’m sure he’s an escaped pet - if anyone recognises him they can call the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

Homeowner Naomi Burdett said: “My partner discovered the snake after hearing the candle smash, he saw the snake which hissed at him then backed away into the toilet.

“He ran upstairs in a moment of panic, neither of us are the biggest fans of snakes and it’s not exactly what you expect to see in your downstairs loo!

“My sister-in-law was close by and was able to come round and help us contain him - we named him Kevin - and fortunately the RSPCA was then able to take him away to specialist care.

“We haven’t had any heating until recently so it must have been really cold for him - we haven’t been staying here during the renovations so I have no idea where he has been living or how long he has been here!

“It’s a really bizarre situation - we were telling family and they were saying ‘send us pictures or we don’t believe you’!

“I just hope he makes a full recovery now, as we grew quite attached to him!”

The snake has now been logged on Pets Located and is recovering at a local wildlife hospital to be monitored in case he has ingested any of the chemical toilet water.

Many of the snakes the RSPCA’s officers are called to collect are thought to be escaped pets.

The RSPCA would always recommend owners invest in an enclosure suitable for the particular species and that the enclosure is kept secure (and locked if necessary) when unattended.

Reptiles, particularly snakes, can be extremely good escape artists and will take the opportunity of a gap in an enclosure door, or a loose-fitting lid.

The RSPCA advises members of the public to not handle unconfirmed species of snakes, and to contact the charity for advice by calling 0300 1234 999.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit their website.