“I closed the lid and started screaming,” Sanela Kamencic, from Evanston, Ill., told NBC 5.
“I was totally creeped out,” she added. “How did a snake get in the house let alone the washer?”
The snake was brought to the Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital by Evanston police and Animal Control Warden Jason Pound.
“I could smell it and could tell that it had actually been through a cycle,” Pound told NBC 5. “Smelled like Downy.”
“Surprisingly the snake looks in pretty good shape. She’s really feisty,” veterinarian Dr. Melissa Giese told the station.
Penelope and her owner have since been reunited.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.