A snake has been found in the back of a lorry in Purfleet, Essex after being ferried thousands of miles from India.
The Indian cat-eyed snake, or boiga, managed to survive the 4,700 mile (7,600km) journey despite extremely adverse conditions.
“Luckily, this snake survived a very long journey despite no obvious signs that he had access to food, water or appropriate heat,” the RSPCA’s David Eckworth said.
Mr Eckworth collected the one-foot long serpent, which the RSPCA described as “mildly venomous”, after being contacted by staff at the Essex depot.
The snake is now being cared for by RSPCA Brighton Reptile Rescue. It will later be rehomed to a specialist keeper.
“We get a number of calls every year to freight companies and holidaymakers returning from their travels when they find a secret stowaway stashed in their suitcase or hidden in their packages,” added Mr Eckworth.
“We’ve been called to snakes, lizards, frogs, spiders and even scorpions.
“That’s why we urge all lorry drivers and tourists to check their packages and bags before closing up to head home.”