Employees at a Richmond mall got a slithery surprise Monday evening when they discovered a snake inside a cellphone store.

The three-foot-long ball python, now named Wind, was found in the backroom of a Wind Mobile store around 5:30 p.m. PT at Lansdowne Mall. 

CBC News has learned that a woman who works in the mall brought the snake in for a show-and-tell with her co-workers on Saturday, but that the reptile soon went missing. It is not clear whether or not the woman worked for the store.

"We're investigating this as kind of a one-off incident," said mall manager Jason Roberts, who added he has never heard of anything like this happening at the mall in the past.

Reptile Rescue Adoption and Education Society in Richmond was called to remove the snake.  

Wind the snake

Wind, the three-foot long ball python, is now being held at Richmond's Reptile Refuge until rescuers find it a more permanent home.

"He's about two years old. He's really dull right now. He's in shed cycle," said Reptile Rescue's Val Lofvendahl. "He's a little bit dehydrated, but he's not thin."

Lofvendahl says ball pythons, which can grow up to six feet long, are the "least likely snakes to bite."  

The snake is legal to own in many — though not all — B.C. municipalities, including Richmond.

Wind will remain at Reptile Rescue's facility until an adoptive home can be found. 

With files from the CBC's Dan Burritt