A plumber called to fix a toilet in Australia got a bit of a surprise when he turned up, and found the blockage was a seven-foot-long python.

The python was eventually extracted from the septic tank by Peter Phillips of the Parks and Wildlife Service in the Northern Territory. He would have pulled it straight out of the toilet, he said, but it was so big it wouldn't fit.

Phillips said in a statement: 'The ... resident originally called a plumber because her toilet was blocked. I arrived to see a large python head peering out of the toilet bowl.'

Owners of pythons that are a bit down in the dumps might want to pay attention to Phillips' next statement.

'The tank was obviously a great home,' he noted, 'because the snake was so fat and healthy it was difficult to retrieve it.'

The tank was apparently a good place to hide during the day and hunt for frogs at night, he said. Which makes you wonder about the state of the woman's toilet.

Reassuringly for local residents, the snake will be released back into the wild soon, so that it can go find more septic tanks to live in.