A Texas man who had just moved into a new home in Morgan's Point Resort was shaking in his boots after a surprise guest showed up at his front door Tuesday.
A nearly 7-foot reptile, later identified as a Texas rat snake, was coiled around the grille on the homeowner's door. As the man went to turn his key in the door, the snake moved.
"The serpent moved in for a closer look ... the guy was clearly a bit caught off guard," Taran Vaszocz-Williams, a training chief with Morgan's Point Resort Fire Department, told KTRK-TV.
Vaszocz-Williams, along with several coworkers, grabbed snake handling tongs to safely remove the reptile from the door. The officials then packed the serpent up in a cardboard box and relocated it.
"You just never know what you might encounter on an Engine Company..." Morgan's Point Resort Fire Department joked on Facebook Tuesday, posting several photos of the large brown and white-colored snake.
"The serpent moved in for a closer look ... the guy was clearly a bit caught off guard."
Fire officials said the new resident "wasn’t too thrilled about the welcome wagon or, in this case, welcome snake," though the serpent seemed pretty pleased with his new "digs."
In Texas, you have to be prepared for anything, a Morgan's Point Resort Fire Department spokesman told Fox News. Morgan's Point firefighters are encouraged to shake out their fire gear and check their boots for critters.
"We definitely see a variety of things out there," the spokesman said, adding that they've found some tarantulas in their station. "They can be an unpleasant surprise, but both are an important part of our ecosystem and natural pest control."
The Texas rat snake is a non-venomous reptile that's commonly found in North Texas. The largest rat snake ever recorded in the area was 7.2 feet long, according to the Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center.
"Texas rat snakes are excellent climbers and there have been occasional reports of Texas rat snakes climbing the sides of brick walls on buildings," the center explains on its website. "This can be the result of the snake detecting the presence of rodents, which often seek shelter in attics."
Vaszocz-Williams assured residents that the reptile was taken to nearby woods, where it can find plenty of tasty treats.
"Officer Martinez provided a chauffeured ride to a wooded area where the snake could go about his business with rodents and such," Vaszocz-Williams told KTRK-TV.