A florist has described her horror after coming face to face with a brightly coloured snake nestled amongst the blooms in her shop.
Julie Reavley, co-owner of The Flower Room on Hide Hill, made the grim discovery last week after a delivery man alerted her to a red and yellow striped snake coiled in a basket on the counter.
“We were very busy in the shop because we had a big order to go out,” Julie told the Advertiser.
“Michael, the delivery man was in, and he just calmly said ‘I see you’re selling snakes now’.
“He’s a bit of a joker so I didn’t think too much of it. But when I went round the counter there was a snake in the basket!”
Julie’s initial reaction was to run from the shop. But the business’ website declares ‘we love a challenge at The Flower Room’, and this wasn’t one the team could shirk.
Telling herself not to be hissterical, she took a deep breath and returned to deal with the slithering situation along with her colleague Mandy.
“We tipped it into a box and took it up to the vet,” Julie said. “When we’d described it on the phone he thought it might be poisonous, but when he saw it he said he knew where it had come from - someone had lost two snakes from a nearby flat two months ago.”
The rattled staff are unsure how long striped serpent, thought to hail from South America, was resident in the shop.“I don’t know how long it’s been in here!”Julie shuddered. “They normally like a heat lamp and it can get cold in here, so I’m hoping not too long.
“It was definitely a shock - you would never think you’d come into work in the morning and find a snake! But I was more concerned incase it had been a customer that found it, can you imagine if a customer had put a hand in the basket?”
With their uninvited visitor duly evicted, it’s business as usual at The Flower Rooms. “I was worried to come back in at first, but we’ve had a good look around and I think the chances of the other one being in here too are tiny. Aren’t they...?”