Rail workers were sent into panic after discovering a three-foot-long corn snake living on a train that was parked up at a UK depot.
Photos of the snake crawling along the floor of the Southern Railway train carriage have been circulating on social media.
Cleaners discovered the reptile during routine cleaning and checks after service, so staff at Selhurst Train Depot in Croydon contacted the police.
However, the British Transport Police were apparently not too keen on moving the snake, so called in reptile expert Gareth North from the nearby Mitcham Zoo.
Despite being scared, the rail workers managed to retrieve the snake into a bag after cornering the reptile in the carriage
Mr North told The Sun: "It was a corn snake - they’re not poisonous at all but I believe the workers at the train depot got a bit of a shock.
"The British Transport Police were more scared. They arrived and checked in, saw the snake and basically ran out of the carriage.
"They then contacted me but then by the time I got there the snake had been retrieved into a bag by the train workers."
Mr North said it is certainly a possibility that the snake could have been dumped by its owner, something he has witnessed a huge jump in as people can't afford to look after the exotic pets due to the cost of living crisis.
He said: "We really can’t be sure how the snake got on the train. There could be several reasons for it.
"Trains are warm and the heating is on in those trains 24 hours everyday.
"Out in the open, it would have died because it's too cold. It’s not native to this country.
"It’s possible that someone has dumped it on but it’s also possible that it just escaped from a happy home and made its way onto the train while it was in the surface yard."
He continued: "Currently we’re just looking over the snake's condition. It’s dehydrated so it may have been on the train for an extended period of time - it's difficult to tell.
"It’s got some artificial injuries just where it’s been trying to get through the heater grills on the floor."
Mr Noth added that they will review the situation in the next 'couple of days' and then he or she will be moved to the National Centre For Reptile Welfare in Tonbridge.
Speaking on the snake find, a spokesperson for Southern Railway told LADbible: "A corn snake was found on a train in our depot in South London on Friday night and staff immediately contacted the authorities.
"The snake was kept safe there until a member of staff from Mitcham Zoo, a rescue & rehoming centre, came to collect it, where it is now being looked after."