Photos capture the terrifying moment an escaped 18ft-long python tried to get into a house through an open bedroom window.
The “very dangerous” 38kg snake was spotted by neighbours as it slithered across a roof before forcing its way through the upstairs window.
Worried residents inside managed to use a broom handle to fight off the albino Burmese Python, poking it back out before it fell 20ft onto the bonnet of a car below, landing with an “almighty thud”.
A neighbour then looked after the huge serpent in her conservatory until it woke up.
The shocking episode unfolded in the early hours at a row of of terrace houses in Chandler’s Ford, near Southampton, Hampshire.
Jenny Warwick, 62, first noticed the enormous snake making its way across the roof of the houses opposite at around 5.30am.
“I saw something on the roof and thought it must be a plastic tube, but then its head started moving,” she said.
“I told my husband, Steven, but he said ‘don’t be silly.’
“I have a dog called Rodney, and he was really barking and going mad.
“I asked a neighbour outside if they could see something on the roof because I didn’t have my glasses and I wasn’t sure if I was seeing things. We realised that it was definitely a snake and it was moving all over the roof trying to find a way to get down.
“My husband hates snakes, and he couldn’t get to work fast enough. It’s not what you want to see first thing in the morning, I think it’s very irresponsible to let it loose.”
Passersby were horrified by the sight and some even “grabbed their dogs ” to keep them away from the 18ft beast.
Mrs Warwick, who has lived on the street for 36 years, saw the residents of the house try to “poke” the “frightening” snake out of the window “using a broom handle”.
It then tumbled onto the bonnet of a Hyundai i10 hatchback below and made an “almighty thud”.
Nearby residents decided to knock on the door of a neighbour who used to keep snakes, thinking it might be hers.
The woman – who did not wish to be named – said: “I was woken by people banging on my door talking about a snake in the road.
“It wasn’t mine, but I said they could leave it in my conservatory until it woke up.
“It’s a very dangerous snake and it’s massive.
“I felt sick when my friend told me it was trying to get into someone’s house. There could have been a baby in there or anything.
“I used to keep snakes and I know that when they’re hungry they can turn nasty. I was bitten by my python a number of times.
“It was a big 18ft snake and it must have been six stone at least.”
The woman then called the man who owns the snake who turned up and and took it back to his house a short distance away.
RSPCA scientific officer, Evie Button, said: “Snakes are excellent escape artists and will take the opportunity of a gap in an enclosure door, or a loose-fitting lid to make a break for it.
“Last year, we took over 1,200 reports about snakes, with the highest number of calls coming during the summer months.
“Snakes become more active during hot weather. So we would urge all pet snake owners to be extra vigilant at this time of year, invest in an enclosure suitable for the particular species and make sure that enclosure is kept secure – and locked if necessary – when unattended.
“The RSPCA urges prospective owners of reptiles such as snakes to thoroughly research the needs of the particular species and what is required in the care of the animal, using expert sources.
“People should only consider keeping a snake if they can ensure they are fully able to provide for these needs.”