Last Tuesday, around 9 a.m., an apartment-dweller in Pretoria, South Africa went into the bathroom and found a surprise. An enormous cobra, several feet long and the width of a human forearm, was poking his hooded head out of the toilet.

OK, fine. The resident did what you do in such situations—called the snake catcher, Barry Greenshields, who arrived promptly. Greenshields, who has years of wrangling experience, was impressed by the snake. In a video posted on News24, he lifts it with snake prongs, whistling, “How long is this thing!” It rises endlessly out of the bowl, as if charmed.

But his best efforts couldn’t dislodge it—it seemed to be clinging to something. The snake, now angry, disappeared into the toilet, and Greenshields went knocking around different apartment doors, trying to find his quarry.

A close-up on the toilet snake.
A close-up on the toilet snake. Screenshot/News24

No dice. When he left the building that day, he advised residents to keep their toilet lids closed. Later, he returned to put cameras in the pipes, to track it.

Now, a full week later, the terror-stricken residents are fed up. “People are talking about taking matters into their own hands now,” one anonymous person told News24. Some have suggested pouring disinfectant or hot water into the toilets.

The snake has kept a low profile since its first appearance. Greenshields thinks it may have grown sluggish due to a lack of food, and may stay coiled down in a pipe somewhere until it gets hungry. Or maybe he just knew he wasn’t wanted: “I hope he has left through the pipes,” Greenshields says.

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