That’s what happened to Johan-Martin Spik Skum last week in Swedish Lapland, perhaps the last place in the world one would expect to see a snake species native to Central and South America looking up from the loo.
Skum posted a video of the unexpected encounter to Facebook, which later made its way to his upstairs neighbour Olov Boman, who had been frantically looking for his lost pet.
Boman was cleaning the snake’s terrarium the previous evening when it made its escape. The snake owner said he quickly ran to the bathroom in an apparent attempt to avoid the precise scenario that then played out.
“When I realised it had escaped, I went and closed the lid to the toilet and flushed. The snake must have already been in there by then and that’s how it ended up with the neighbour below,” he told broadcaster SVT.
While Boman was turning his place upside down in an effort to find his snake, below him Skum was trying to figure out just what you’re supposed to do with a tropical snake in your Swedish toilet, especially when you have “a phobia,” as he told SVT.
Skum said he piled heavy items onto the toilet lid to prevent its escape but then figured he’d better risk getting a video of it.
“If it disappeared, I would have been the only one to know that a snake had been there,” he reasoned.
The snake remained in Skum’s toilet all night before being removed by the property owner the next day. Meanwhile, Skum’s Facebook post was seen by one of Boman’s friends, who then sent a link to the worried pet owner.
“It was a terrible shock and I was incredibly embarrassed. Discovering a tropical snake in Jokkmokk when you’re up peeing in the night must be shocking,” Boman said.
Alas, things ended up fine for all involved, including the snake.
“I didn’t think it would survive in the cold water, but it did,” Boman said, adding that there appeared to be “no hard feelings” between the neighbours.
Boman said he plans to padlock the terrarium to avoid a repeat incident.