MUM-OF-ONE Naomi Bushall received the shock of her life when she opened her airing cupboard to find a four-foot python staring back at her.
Naomi, 34, of Redhouse, was putting her washing away when she was confronted by the slithering reptile, which could have been in her top floor flat for a number of months.
The snake was removed by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue’s rural safety team on Tuesday and its owner is now being traced.
The nursery nurse had just returned home with her three-year-old son Cody when the incident occurred.
“I can laugh about it now but it was terrifying at the time,” said Naomi.
“It was about 4pm and I had just got back from the park with my little one. I took the washing in with me and sat down to fold it all like I normally do.
“I went to put it in the airing cupboard and when I started to put it in something launched at me. Luckily it didn’t bite me but at the time I thought it was just a coat hanger falling or something.
“But when I looked I just saw this snake staring at me and I just froze. I didn’t know what to do.
“I thought if I stood still then it won’t move. It was in the laundry so I couldn’t see how big it was, so I thought it might be a slow worm or something.
“I’m not sure of the time frame. I had my phone with me so I called my mother-in-law, who said to call the RSPCA, but they close at midday so I was left on hold for 20 minutes.
“In the end I thought if firemen deal with cats up a tree, why not a snake in a cupboard.”
Rural safety officer Colin Owens with the snake immediately after its removal from the airing cupboard
The team of specialists are based in Trowbridge, so Naomi slowly closed the door of the cupboard and took Cody to a neighbour’s house while she waited for help to arrive.
“When they arrived they put on the specialist equipment but no one really thought it was anything too serious,” said Naomi.
“We waited in the lounge for a while and after a bit I went out to make tea for everyone. That’s when one of the officers came in and in quite a serious voice said we had to wait in the lounge.
“In total it took them about half an hour to deal with the snake. I didn’t see it but they told me it was quite aggressive when they approached it.
“It was terrifying but there is part of me that was a bit relieved to know I wasn’t panicking over nothing.
“At least it was me that discovered it. The snake may not have been poisonous but I dread to think what would have happened if Cody had found it.
“He knows there was a snake but I’ve told him the firemen came to take it back to the jungle.”
The creature was quickly identified as a python, a non-poisonous constrictor. It was quite weak and officers believe it may have escaped from its owners several months ago.
Naomi said: “About six weeks ago some boxes in the attic fell down after not moving for around seven years.
“The firemen think it was probably the snake.”