A nanny got the shock of her life when she discovered a five foot long snake curled up in the family's kitchen.

The reticulated python was sitting on top of the boiler at the property in Tooting, south London.

The shocked nanny called the RSPCA who came round to remove the reptile which they believe had been abandoned and crawled in to the home.

Animal Rescue Officer Abigail Campbell attended the house in Lucien Road along with fellow RSPCA officer Mat (corr) Hawkins on September 13.

She said: “The nanny took Mat and I through to the kitchen, she was quite scared of the snake so kept well back.

"When I looked into the room I saw the python curled up on top of the kitchen boiler.

“He was most likely up there as it would have been the warmest part of the house and snakes need external heat sources to regulate their body temperature.

"The nanny believes he got into the boiler room through a gap in the wall from the garden. We believe he has either escaped or was abandoned nearby.

“We did put up 'Animal Found' posters up around the area and we have not had anyone call in so are leaning towards the assumption he was abandoned.

“He was slightly skinny. I gave him a nudge just to make sure he wasn't aggressive but he was very calm and allowed me to pick him up no problem, although he did cling on to the boiler pipe very tightly, he was very strong.

"He was very chilled and became somewhat lively once he had been picked up, looking around and smelling the air.

“He was placed in a snake bag where he chilled out again and curled up. We took him to South Essex Wildlife Hospital where he remains now.

“Sadly it is not unusual for us to be called to collect an abandoned snake.

"We believe many people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when they take them on, and we suspect the reality of caring for them has become too much in these cases.

"This is why we would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re the right pet for them.

“It is so sad as people who are struggling to cope could simply ask for help and advice which is why the RSPCA has launched its dedicated cost of living web pages.”

Many of the snakes the RSPCA’s officers are called to collect are thought to be escaped pets.

The charity would always recommend owners invest in an enclosure suitable for the particular species and that the enclosure is kept secure and locked if necessary when unattended.

Reptiles, particularly snakes, can be extremely good escape artists and will take the opportunity of a gap in an enclosure door, or a loose-fitting lid.

If anyone loses a snake there are a number of lost and found pet websites where details can be logged, including PetsLocated.

It is possible to microchip snakes and the RSPCA would recommend that owners ask their exotics vet to do this, so that snakes can be easily reunited if lost and found.