A grandfather received a scare when he opened a bag of broccoli — and found a live snake tucked inside it.
Neville Linton, 63, said discovering the young ladder snake, which is capable of a nasty bite, was a “frightening” experience, as SWNS, the British news service, reported of the incident.
He said he bought the broccoli from an Aldi branch in Stourbridge, West Midlands, in the UK, on June 2.
He put it in the refrigerator before taking it out to prepare a meal three days later, he told SWNS.
That’s when he spotted the snake.
Linton, who works in industrial cleaning, said he’s afraid of snakes — so relatives jumped to his aid and scooped up the reptile.
Said Linton, a grandfather of one from Birmingham, “It was pretty frightening. I’m not good with snakes.”
He added, “It’s lucky I didn’t just leave the broccoli out in the kitchen, or it would have been loose in the house. That would have been a huge risk for us because we have two vulnerable people living here.”
He bought the broccoli as part of his regular weekly grocery shopping rounds, he said.
When he unwrapped the vegetable on his kitchen counter, he saw a little creature tucked up near the stem of the broccoli, he said.
Realizing it was too big to be a caterpillar, he said he called for his sister, Ann-Marie Tenkanemin, 57, who identified it as a snake.
The pair popped it in a plastic container — and drove it back to the Aldi store where it had been purchased.
He said, “I thought she was joking at first, but I backed off when I saw it start moving. The guy in the shop was pretty frightened, too.”
At the Dudley Zoo, a specialist identified the snake as a young ladder snake, said Neville Linton’s 41-year-old son, Donovan Linton.
The elder Linton said he’s been offered some compensation, but he said he is asking for more.
The dad of three said the amount offered to him does not compensate for the risk to his disabled son and his vulnerable mother-in-law, who both live with him.
He added, “It’s just not good enough — the implications for us if it had [gotten] out in the house are huge.”
He also said, “Plus, I’m phobic of snakes, so there’s the emotional impact of that, too.”
An Aldi spokesperson told SNWS, “Our supplier has never had a complaint of this nature and has robust processes in place to prevent such issues occurring. We are investigating this isolated incident and have apologized to Mr. Linton that our usual high standards were not met.”
Ladder snakes are not venomous.
They’re found mostly in Portugal, Spain, southern France and parts of Italy.