• The python seemed to be of good health
  • The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is in the process of finding its owner
  • Corn snakes, royal pythons are among the most popular species of pet reptiles in the UK

A family in the UK got the shock of their lives when they found a royal python hiding inside their tumble dryer.

The reptile was discovered at Southport in Liverpool on Sunday when a family member opened the machine. The python seemed to be an abandoned or escaped pet, which had slithered into the machine to be safe, news outlet Liverpool Echo reported.

Mike Potts, senior manager of exotic animal charity BeastWatch UK, said it's a mystery how the snake ended up there.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), which informed the BeastWatch UK about the find, is in the process of tracking down the owner of the python.

Potts said he was contacted by an RSPCA collection official who wanted to know if he was aware of any missing snakes.

"The family who discovered the reptile had called the society for help. I think they were all a bit shocked by it. They weren't reptile keepers themselves. We weren't aware of any missing snakes. It was an unusual situation on a number of levels," said Potts, Liverpool Echo reported.

He added the circumstances seem weird as it was not summer, which was the time reptiles usually wander.

"I'd be less surprised if it happened in the middle of summer because we deal with a lot of snakes that wander off from having a little bit of access to garden space. But, at this time of year, people don't let their reptiles outside for good reason. It's very cold for a snake from a hot climate. It wouldn't survive very long outside. It's a bit of a mystery to me," he said.

The python seemed to be of good health, which suggested that the animal hadn't been out for long. BeastWatch UK is appealing people who might know the owner of the reptile to come forward with information.

There are thought to be about two million snakes kept as pets in the UK, with corn snakes and royal pythons being the most popular species.

An earlier study by the Federation of British Herpetologists had revealed about 60 people had licenses to keep venomous snakes in England.

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