An encounter between a snake and a baby boy took a surprising turn after the one-year-old child grabbed the reptile and chewed its head off.

The Israeli child, Imad Gadir, from Shfaram, northern Israel, found the 35cm (14in) coin snake in his room.

Instead of being scared, he grabbed the snake and when his horrified mother walked into his room she found him chewing on its corpse, the Ynet website reported.

"I went to the kitchen to get him some milk and when I came back I saw he was already eating," his mother, Alain, said. "I screamed until the neighbours came. I still can't believe what I saw."

"It wasn't a pretty sight," Shaheen Shaheen, the boy's grandfather told Ynet.

"He's a baby; he didn't know what he was doing. He thought it was a game. I don't wish this kind of thing on anyone."

Alain's screams rapidly alerted a neighbour who ran to the house and took the remains of the snake from the little boy's hands.

The bite of a coin snake is not poisonous but can be dangerous to people allergic to it.

Imad was not hurt but was taken to a hospital in Haifa as a precaution.