An Instow woman had a surprise on Monday morning when she woke up to discover a grass snake in her kitchen - on what turned out to be World Snake Day.

In the ironic twist of fate, Julie Harding woke up and walked barefoot to her kitchen when she saw a dark shape on the floor.

That shape transpired to be a two-and-a-half-feet-long grass snake, thought to be hiding from the heat in her home.

Julie said: "I didn't know what sort of snake it was or what to do; I had a brief moment of panic.

"I thought I've got to get it out somehow but I didn't know whether to pick it up or try to shoo it out.

"I had a flip flop in each hand and was trying to wave it out when it coiled up, the fangs came out and it started hissing.

"It was quite a loud hiss. I'd never seen a live snake before let alone one hissing at me."

After around 10 minutes of gentle coaxing, Julie managed to get the snake out of the front door.

"It must have made its way around the house during the night because there was snake poo in various places," she said.

"Luckily I had my bedroom door shut all night."

Julie has since reported the sighting to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.

"It was then I learned it was actually World Snake Day, and I thought, what are the chances of that," she added.

Grass snakes are protected in the UK and can grow up to 150cm in length.

The grass snake is usually greenish in colour, with a yellow and black collar, pale belly, and dark markings down the sides. Females are bigger than males.