A Dubai resident was startled by an uninvited guest when he found a snake lurking in his bathroom.
Sunil Chaudhary made the surprise discovery at his villa in Al Furjan on Sunday night.
After going to his ground-floor bathroom to wash his hands, he was met by a black snake about 10 centimetres long.
The reptile was later identified as a harmless, nonvenomous blind snake.
“I recently changed the soil in my garden and dug the whole lawn up and replaced it,” Mr Chaudhary said.
“These snakes tend to live in the soil so I can only assume it was disturbed during the digging up process.
“Initially I was a bit shocked as I saw it moving very fast in the corner of the bathroom but I looked it up online and came to know it was harmless.
“I picked it up myself and left it on a soiled area a fair distance from the villas in the area.”
Mr Chaudhary, director of a maritime company in Dubai, said he told neighbours of his experience to assure them there was no need for panic if they spotted a similarly slippery customer in their homes.
“When I showed a picture of it to my gardener he said he had seen a similar snake a week before by our pool," he said.
“I alerted my neighbours that if they come across one they are harmless and there was no need to worry.
“If it was venomous I would have called the authorities to handle it professionally.”
Wildlife specialists and pest control companies often report an increase in calls to remove different reptiles from residential communities during this time of the year.
They said native species thrived in the cooler weather.
Dinesh Ramachandran, health and environment manager at Rentokil in Dubai, said most snakes here do not bite people or attack.
“The snake pictured is a blind snake, they are common in the UAE and are often found inside soil, like earthworms,” he said.
“They feed on ants, termites and organic debris in the soil.
“Due to their habitat, they may be found in external vegetation under the soil or sometimes in the soil of potted plants.”
He assured the public this particular species of snake was harmless.
"If spotted, do not panic. The snake might have crawled out of soil at night and will not survive outdoors," he said.
“If it is practical, remove the snake and introduce it to the soil.”
While not uncommon, snake encounters in the UAE are almost always relatively risk-free.
Most snake call-outs are to deal with sand boas, venomous vipers, grass snakes and smooth snakes.
Rentokil said it was more than likely that snakes would move away from a human being or large animal, such as a cat or dog, as quickly as possible.
To reduce the risk of snakes around your property, it is recommended that rolled carpets or woodpiles are not left on the ground and items that provide shade or cover in outdoor areas are removed.