Residents in the town of Narón in Galicia, Spain are in an uproar after a local hairdresser was bitten by a green and yellow snake while sitting in her bathroom at home, doing what comes naturally.
According to Iris Castroverde, 30, at around 11 p.m. she was sitting urinating in her bathroom at home when she heard a strange, muffled sound, followed by splashing in the toilet beneath her. She suddenly felt a sharp bite on her left buttock.
As she stood up and flushed the toilet, she was shocked to see a yellow and green snake, approximately 20 centimeters (eight inches) long, disappear down the drain.
Worried and dazed, Castroverde went to the local hospital to get treatment for the bite and is now recovering.
Castroverde told the local media that it has been the talk of the town for days now and the whole area is getting totally "psychotic" about it. She added that she was relieved it didn't happen to either of her two children.
"I saw something like this on television once, but that was in the Philippines, not in Narón," said one of her neighbors.
Authorities have closed all the bathrooms in the apartment building where Castroverde lives and neighbors have been throwing bleach and "agua fuerte" (a rather drastic cleaning solution of hydrochloric acid, usually containing toluene and methanol) down their toilets.
One of the neighbors told ABC that she read somewhere that strong smells keep them (the snakes) away. She admitted that on Monday evening, she went looking for a urinal, as she "preferred to pee standing up."
However, despite the paranoia by residents, police believe that the snake, like Elvis, has definitely left the building.
As the bright coloring is unusual for a local species of snake, it is thought that it is of an exotic variety, possibly someone's pet.
Local environmental agents inspected the drains using a camera and found no trace of the errant reptile. They also ensured that the drains in the apartment building did not connect to those in a nearby school. However, officials are continuing to monitor the situation in case the reptile rears its green and yellow head again in someone else's loo.
Now research is focused on trying to determine the origin of the snake. One of the officers in charge of the investigation said that due to the layout of the drains, they can't rule out that the snake might belong to someone in a neighboring building.
It seems the story is nothing new, as in September 2007 there was a similar incident in Ferrol, also in Galicia. One morning, a man lifted his toilet seat to find a python coiled comfortably inside the bowl, which had apparently escaped from a neighbor's terrarium. However he, at least, looked first before taking a seat!
In the meantime, it might not be a bad idea for local residents to drag out those old-fashioned "chamber pots" that people used to keep under their beds.
Spanish sources:La Voz de GaliciaEl MundoABC