A man had a fright when he discovered a snake in his cereal box, an animal charity said as it revealed its most surprising rescues of the last year.
The three-foot-long snake, which was believed to be an escaped pet, interrupted breakfast in Sheffield before slithering into a dishwasher, where it was later rescued and taken to a specialist centre.
It was one of the incidents highlighted by the RSPCA as they rounded up their top animal rescues of 2018, including 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 Kirstie Gillard was called on May 13 by worried students in a shared house in Southwark, London, when they found a squirrel stuck in their toilet.
The rodent gripped onto a mop handle and was lifted out of the toilet before being cleaned off, dried and released.
She said: "Fortunately the squirrel wasn't injured at all and I could release him back into the wild where he belongs.
"I think he must have come into this house through the roof and slipped into the toilet."
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, London, 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 Hertfordshire, a fox was found wedged in a front car grille more than 12 hours after being hit in an accident.
RSPCA animal collection officer Amy Reiter was called to Letchworth Garden City to help the stricken fox on September 9, 2018.
She said: "The lad had hit a fox during the early hours of the morning and thought it went under his vehicle."
"He did not realise the fox had survived the accident and had no idea it got stuck in the car."
Meanwhile 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.
Ms Sparkes added: "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."
"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."