A WOMAN has told of her terror as a four-foot long snake slithered along the floor in front of her just as she was about to have a leisurely soak in the bath.

Pauline Breame, 71, of Charfield Close, came face to face with the slippery suspect at 12 o’clock on Friday afternoon and instantly flew into a panic.

Mother of three Pauline said: “I just screamed and went mad for a minute or two. I don’t like anything that slithers. I couldn’t believe it, it was just right there in front of me.

“Snakes make me feel sick if I see them on the TV and I can’t stand big spiders or anything like that. For all I knew it could have been poisonous.”

She immediately called for her husband but the snake had found somewhere to hide before he could get hold of it.

Pauline said: “Things like that don’t bother my husband, he’d have grabbed hold of it if he could. But it had crawled into a cavity under the bath and there was nothing we could do.”

Pauline’s husband David, 69, rang the police who said they couldn’t do anything and advised him to contact the RSPCA.

“The police didn’t know what to do so they put me in touch with the RSPCA who had to come all the way from Bristol,” he said.

The couple had to wait for over an hour for the animal rescue van to arrive and the rest of the afternoon was spent searching for the animal, which was eventually found hiding in a cavity underneath the bath.

Mr Breame said: “Now there’s a great big hole in the floor under the bath because they he had to take the floor boards up.”

The RSPCA identified it as a corn snake, which is not poisonous or venomous but does have a nasty bite.

Chris James, the RSPCA’s animal collection officer, said: “This sort of thing is very rare but it does happen. It’s the sort of animal that people keep as a pet and sometimes they do have a tendency to wander off if they’re not properly kept, especially when the weather gets a bit warmer.

“They’re not dangerous but they will bite if provoked.”

A relived Mrs Breame said: “Now I know they have got rid of it I’m alright. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep if they hadn’t have found it. It was very frightening.”

The snake was taken back to Bristol by the RSPCA but Mr James was unable to say exactly where it will end up.

Mrs Breame said: “All the neighbours are worried they’ll have snakes coming into their homes now.”

She also wanted to single out the council for praise, saying: “The guys from the council who came were wonderful. They did all they could to help and we’re really grateful to them.”

Corn snakes are usually kept as pets and can grow up to five foot long. Their lifespan is around 10 to 15 years and they commonly feed on mice.

Anyone who comes into contact with a stray snake should contact the RSPCA immediately.