A man had a fright when he sat down for breakfast to discover a snake in his cereal box, an animal charity said as it revealed its most surprising rescues of the last year.
The 3ft-long snake, believed to be an escaped pet, interrupted the man's breakfast before slithering into a dishwasher, where it was later rescued and taken to a specialist centre.
It was one of a series of incidents highlighted by the RSPCA as they rounded up their top animal rescues of 2018, including a venomous scorpion, a cat impaled on railings, and a hamster rescued by a hand-crafted ladder after being stuck in a pipe for almost a week.
Animal collection officer Katie Hetherington, who responded to the Sheffield man's call for help in May, said: "I think he was expecting to have Cornflakes for breakfast, not Cornsnakes.
"The poor chap was absolutely terrified, I think it was the last thing he expected to find in his kitchen."
Elsewhere, a Birmingham hotel gained an unwanted guest in September when a scorpion was spotted by a resident.
Staff at the Hyatt Regency Hotel captured the scorpion in a glass and called the RSPCA.
Animal collection officer Vic Hurr, who collected the scorpion and transported him to a specialist, said: "The scorpion was only small, but he was a feisty little thing.
"We think he must have come out of some luggage and probably travelled thousands of miles, so he certainly had an adventure."
In March, a ginger cat found itself impaled after falling onto metal railings in London.
Chief Inspector Nicole Broster, who helped rescue the cat in Cricklewood, said: "In all my years with the RSPCA I have never seen anything like it.
"This poor cat literally had two metal posts protruding through his body."
The London Fire Brigade cut the railings and transported the cat, still impaled on the spikes, to a nearby vets, where he was taken for emergency surgery.
The railings narrowly missed his vital organs. After his recovery, his owners were found and reunited with Skittles.
In May, a member of public called the RSPCA after spotting a goat with its head stuck in a fence in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees.
Animal collection officer Emily Welch said: "The goats were kept in an enclosure but had somehow got out twice in one day and, the second time, this poor goat managed to get her head stuck in the metal fence.
"She was struggling to free herself and she had her kid with her who was also very distressed."
By digging the dirt underneath the fence, Ms Welch was able to make enough space to carefully push the goat free. The animals were moved to another enclosure so they couldn't get into trouble again.
And on November 15, animal welfare officer Alison Sparkes built a tiny ladder from wire mesh to rescue Jamie the hamster, who had been wedged in a pipe in Bridgwater, Somerset for almost a week.
"Jamie was being looking after by a friend of his owner when he escaped and went down a 10cm-wide pipe that housed the water pipes," she said.
"We knew he was OK as they'd been dropping food down and could hear him eating so I went home and cut a one-metre-long ladder from some old wire mesh, then went back, fitted it in the pipe and that evening he emerged. Very thirsty, but OK."