An Illinois woman preparing to unload her washing machine made a startling discovery -- a very clean snake in with her clothes.

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Evanston resident Sanela Kamencic said she called for help Wednesday when she opened the washer and came face to face with the slithering surprise.

"I was totally creeped out," Kamencic told WMAQ-TV. "How did a snake get in the house let alone the washer?"

Evanston Officer Pedro Carrasco and Animal Control Warden Jason Pound responded to the scene and safely captured the snake.

"I could smell it and could tell that it had actually been through a cycle," Pound said. "Smelled like Downy."

The snake was taken to the Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, where she was checked out by veterinarians.

"We have never had a snake come in that was found in a washing machine," the veterinarian said. "It looked pretty good. Was able to do an exam on it."

The animal turned out to be a pet named Penelope that had escaped from her 12-year-old owner, who lives near Kamencic. The pet and owner were reunited.