A Chinese woman was about to take a shower at her Sichuan province home last Thursday night (May 17), when she stumbled upon a 1m-long snake slithering out of her toilet.
The woman, who was identified in local media reports only as Ms Cai, took a video of the incident and posted it online to express her puzzlement over the reptile's appearance in her sixth-floor flat.
This prompted her neighbour from the eighth floor to come knocking at her door shortly after that, reported West China Metropolis Daily on Saturday.
The neighbour, whose surname is Tao, told Ms Cai that she had caught the snake a few days before at a nearby pond.
She had planned to kill it and use it to brew a tonic to treat her backaches.
Ms Tao said that she left the king rat snake in a plastic bag in her bathroom, but it later slithered away to her neighbour's home.
Ms Cai said that she called out to her father for help when she spotted the snake.
But when he also did not know what to do, he yelled for his own father.
The father-and-son pair poured water into the toilet and waited till the snake came to the surface.
The elderly Mr Cai then fished the reptile out using a stick and a shovel.
Shocked at the sight before him, he said: "I did not expect it to be so big. It was a meter long and about 5cm in diameter."
The family released the snake at a lawn.
Reptile researcher Hou Jing from Sichuan Normal University said in the report that the king rat snake is the largest non-venomous snake in China and can grow up to 2m in length.
The snake is also a class 3 protected species in China and hunting them without a licence could be a breach of animal protection laws, reported South China Morning Post.