A few weeks ago ARC received an out-of-hour’s voicemail left by residents of a property near to our Town Common nature reserve in Christchurch, Dorset.

The message said that the couple believed they had a grass snake in their kitchen.

Due to our limited resources it is very unusual for our staff to be able to do call outs. In this case as the house was next to one of our nature reserves and a member of our Dorset field team was nearby we were able to help.

ARC’s Dorset Field Officer, James went round first thing after receiving the message, donned his protective mask and found that the couple, Peter and Linda, had placed a large Tupperware bowl, held down by plates, over the snake on the kitchen worktop.

“Peter and Linda told me that they had been chatting with family in the living room the previous evening when they heard the window key fall into the kitchen sink from the ledge. When they came out to investigate the noise they were shocked to find that a grass snake had come in through the window and was moving across the kitchen side. Peter quickly put a tub over it, and with help from his visiting son tried to work out what it was and what to do next.”

Thankfully they did the right thing and called ARC for guidance.

“Upon my arrival they were surprised to discover that our headquarters were only two miles down the road and one of our largest urban nature reserves was equally conveniently on their doorstep too.”

“The grass snake by this point had been on the kitchen side for 15 hours, was dehydrated and extremely stressed. It was wriggling, hissing and understandably releasing as much of its foul smelling liquid from its anal glands as possible all over their work tops, but eventually it calmed down and I was able to put in one of our tubs with grass cover and water.”

“Linda, who has a fear of snakes, was relieved for the snake to be out of their house but especially relieved that it hadn’t been harmed over the last 15 hours as they had been very worried for its welfare.”

“I explained that they did the right thing in contacting us and was amazed when they showed me the outside wall that the grass snake must have climbed up to get into the window. Although there was an out flow pipe low down on the wall the snake must have scaled three feet of plastered wall to make the ledge. That’s a determined journey for some water or shade.”

“As there was a lot of building work going on next door, which is probably where the snake had come from, I took it to our nearby heathland nature reserve and released it an ideal spot amongst marshy grasses and bog pools that will stay very damp and humid during the remainder of this summer.”

Have you had a similar experience? We would love to know if you have had any surprising reptile encounters at your home during this summer’s lockdown. If you do have an unexpected visitor take a look at our snakes in gardens advice and please do let us know by taking part in Garden Dragon Watch.