…Spa worker spotted the 13-foot-long snake while inspecting rooms in China
…The store's owner claimed the reptile had lived in the building for a decade
…An expert suspected the python had fed on rats while hiding in the ceiling
…The animal has been caught by police and taken to a zoo to be cared for
A 42-pound python has fallen through the ceiling of a spa parlour in China after allegedly hiding there for as long as 10 years, according to reports.
The owner of the store said he was so frightened to see the snake slithering on the ground he couldn't stop shivering.
The reptile, measuring four metres (13 feet) long, has been caught by police and taken to a zoo.
The incident occurred on the afternoon of last Tuesday in an entertainment complex in the Chancheng District of Foshan, southern China's Guangdong Province, reported Guangdong Radio and TV Station.
No injuries have been reported as a result of the incident.
According to the report, the animal was spotted by a spa worker who was inspecting rooms.
The spa's boss said he had heard of rumour of a snake hiding in the building about 10 years earlier; and three years ago, builders renovating the spa also reported about sighting a python.
'I've seen people talking about [the snake], but I have never seen it myself,' the boss, who remains unidentified, told a reporter.
He said he had hired people to catch the snake, but the effort had failed.
The spa called the police immediately.
Chen Gang, a police officer at the Chancheng branch of the Foshan Public Security Bureau, said officers spent five minutes catching the python, which weighed 19 kilograms (42 pounds).
Officer Chen said he and his colleagues turned off the lights and covered the snake with a blanket before holding it down together.
One of them grabbed the python's head and the rest were able to lift it out of the room and put it in a sack.
It remains unclear how old the animal is, but some species of pythons can live for 25 years or longer.
An expert suspected that the reptile had managed to live in the ceiling for so long by eating rats.
Mr Qiao, a keeper at the Foshan Wild Animal Protection Centre, said it was unlikely that the snake had always stayed in the ceiling.
'It would have come down to the ground sometimes,' Mr Qiao said.
The python is being looked after by the city's Zhongshan Zoo, according to the report.