A young couple were left wriggling in fear after spotting a three-foot snake slithering across their living room floor.
Animal welfare workers received a frantic phone call from the Viewforth Square residents and raced round to the ground-floor property to capture the grey cornsake.
The exotic species, which hails from the southeastern United States, is popular amongst bold pet owners and amateur reptile-keepers in the UK.
The search is now on to find its home, with no other residents in the tenement block admitting ownership after a sign was put up explaining that the snake was with the Scottish SPCA.
Morph – as the snake has now been named – is currently at the Scottish SPCA rehoming centre in Balerno as the search goes on to find its owner.
Anna Orr, who stays in the flat above the terrified couple who found the escapee, said residents in the tenement were mystified by last Friday’s discovery.
She said: “Most of us in the building know each other quite well, and so we didn’t know what to make of it.
“We didn’t know any of our neighbours keeps snakes.
“We just came home to see a sign on the door saying that a snake had been found in the building and sent to the SSPCA. It was quite random.”
Ms Orr said the couple who found the serpent were as surprised as the rest of the neighbours.
She said: “I went down and had a chat with our neighbour, who was the one that had found the snake, and he said that he had just seen it slithering through his living room.
“He was obviously alarmed, and phoned the SSPCA or whoever deals with these things.
“They came through, and at the time said they had no idea what kind of snake it was or why it would have strayed into his flat.
“He certainly didn’t have any clue why it was there.
“They’ve got a baby on the way pretty soon as well – which makes it a little bit scarier.”
Scott Nichol, who works at reptile specialists Strictly Exotics, said grey cornsnakes were commonly kept by exotic pet lovers.
He said: “In Scotland, cornsnakes are quite popular as pets.
“They’re what you would call a ‘beginner snake’ because of their manageable size.
“An adult cornsnake will usually measure between three and four feet – although bigger snakes can grow closer to five feet.
“Cornsnakes also make popular pets because they aren’t particularly aggressive, and so it’s rare that they attack in a malicious way.
“They’re really quite tame as far as snakes go.”
A spokeswoman for the SSPCA said Morph was doing well in their Balerno centre, adding: “We would ask anyone who recognises this snake to call our centre on 03000 999 999.”
In November 2009, the Evening News told how John Langton, from Craigentinny Road, got a scaly surprise in the shower when he went to take a wash and discovered a two-foot cornsnake.
It turned out that Coco had escaped from her tank three weeks earlier and ended up in her neighbour’s bathroom.