WAKE FORREST, N.C. (CBS Local) — A North Carolina family was shocked when they popped a frozen pizza into the oven only to discover that a snake was burning inside.

Amber Helm, of Wake Forrest, said her family had hoped to have an easy dinner Monday night, but after about 10 minutes the oven started smoking and smelling terrible.

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“I told my boys ‘back up,’ so I can make sure a fire or anything didn’t happen,” she told WRAL. “I looked closely and was like ‘Oh my God! That’s a friggin’ snake.'”

The snake was about 18 inches long and the diameter of a quarter.

“I was queasy and it was creepy,” Robert Helm said. “There’s nothing good about find a smoking snake in your oven.”

Amber said she took her two sons, ages 3 and 1, out to dinner while her husband dealt with the snake.

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“We went out to eat,” she said. “We did not eat the pizza. I hear a lot of people asking that question. ‘Did we eat the pizza?’ No.”

The couple is not sure how the snake got into the oven, but Amber said it was snake-free when she baked a ham on Christmas.

“It’s in double, triple cleaning mode,” Robert said. “I cleaned it on the cycle last night. It’s soaking now. The grill grates have been pulled.”

The Helms say they plan to bring in experts to determine where the snake came from and how it ended up in their oven.

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“I have two little boys, so I’m just so concerned,” Amber told The News & Observer. “Every time I see a shadow, I’m like freaking out.”