The snake had sneaked into the engine bay. Photo: QQ.

A driver in China was horrified to find a 2.7-meter-long king cobra had slithered into the engine compartment of her vehicle.

On April 11, the woman surnamed Ma, who is pregnant, stopped her vehicle in Maguan County in Wenshan, Yunnan to check her engine, kankanews.com reported. To her surprise she found a king cobra stuck in the engine bay.

Not surprisingly, that prompted her to call the police for help.

When police arrived at the scene, they learned that the woman had encountered the snake earlier, when she spotted it on the road in front of her car and had slowed down in order to avoid running over the reptile. At this point, the large snake must have hitched a ride.

It took the authorities about 40 minutes to remove the snake. They had to use cooking oil as a lubricant to help ease it out. It has since been released into a wildlife sanctuary.

King cobras are a protected species in China.

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