A Samp Mortar Drive resident was surprised by an unwanted visitor in the front yard Monday morning -- a 5-foot-long snake.

The town's animal control unit was disptached after the resident called police, and removed the snake, identified as a northern water snake. It was later returned to the wild, though officials declined to say where.

The northern water snake is native to the area, and found throughout Connecticut. Although the snakes will bite "aggressively and frequently," according to the website, wildlifeofct.com, they are not venomous. The website advises people not to distrub or approach water snakes to avoid being bitten.

Water snakes' habitat is in or near marshes, lakes and rivers -- as is the site on Samp Mortar Drive. They are active during the day, basking in the sun on branches or in shrubs. The northern water snake hibernates during winter, starting around October.

They can be anywhere from 25 to 52 inches long and eat insects, frogs, toads and fish, swallowing their meals whole. According to the wildlife website, they are often curious and will approach people in the water or on the banks, but if confronted they generally swim away.