A BRAVE engineer saved a snake at a sewage works by picking it up with his hands - not realising it was a venomous 'cobra'.

The fearless Thames Water worker rescued the three-foot-long snake after it was spotted slowly slithering along a path at the site, without realising it packed a venomous bite.

RSPCA inspectors were stunned when they arrived at Basingstoke Sewage Works, in Hamps, to pick up the serpent, because they expected it to be a completely harmless breed.

They are named after their ability to flatten their neck to appear bigger, to take on the appearance of a deadly cobra.

The fearsome snake was spotted as workers carried out an inspection at the site on November 7.