A London man who bought a new tea kettle in a post-Christmas sale opened his new acquisition at home and found it was occupied by a snake.

The RSPCA said Barry Downs called for an animal collection officer when he opened the tea kettle he bought from an Argos store Dec. 28 and discovered after using it that a small corn snake had slithered out into his kitchen.

Downes used a saucepan lid to keep the serpent contained until RSPCA animal collection officer Ella Davies arrived.

"[Downes] explained to me that he had some problems with his sight so when he first saw the snake he thought she was string or part of the plastic packaging. Only when he picked her up did he realize she was alive!" Davies said.

"Barry thought the snake may have traveled from China -- which is where the kettle was made -- but I suspect she snuck into the box at a storage warehouse somewhere in the U.K.," she said.

The snake was taken to Putney Animal Hospital to be checked out and cared for. The RSPCA is now trying to find the owner of the corn snake, a species native to North America.

"Corn snakes are talented escape artists so I suspect this little one has escaped from a vivarium somewhere," Davies said.