A Bristol couple were shocked to discover a 5ft snake hiding in their new car as they drove home from a Sheffield dealership.
Claire Brealey and her partner were forced to pull up on the hard shoulder of the M5 after their pet dog alerted them to their unwelcome stowaway.
The reptile was discovered loose in the back of the car after the dog became “distressed” police said.
After going to investigate, they saw the bright orange and white snake had wrapped itself around one of the dog’s legs.
Central Motorway Police Group said one of its patrols came across the couple on the hard shoulder between junctions seven and eight, at approximately 9pm on Thursday.
Sergeantt Dave Lonsdale, who tweeted the incident live, described the discovery as his “most bizarre job for a long time”.
He said: “Officers attended a breakdown on the M5 in Worcs.. but it wasn’t a breakdown. occupants had found.. a SNAKE!!…Aaaargh.. we were as surprised as the family (and pet dog!!) (sic).”
He later posted: “I suppose, ‘mummy, there’s a snake in the car’ is a bit more exciting than ‘are we there yet?’.. (sic)”
A reptile company was called and, using pictures taken by officers, identified it as a harmless corn snake.
However, the creature crawled into the structure of the car and despite their best attempts the police were unable to recover it.
The couple decided that they were happy to continue their journey with the intention of looking for the snake properly when they got home.
It has since transpired that the previous owner of the Nissan Navara vehicle, Fiona Wellington, 42, from Sheffield had lost her snake shortly before selling the car.
The snake, which is believed to be called Keith, is still at large.