A dad ended up in A&E after being bitten by a stowaway snake which hid in his motorbike and hitched a ride back from Europe.

Dave Craker, from Worthing, thinks he picked up the venomous viper during a motorbike trip around France, Spain and Portugal.

The 62-year-old’s right leg became swollen and painful on another bike ride weeks after he returned home.

The Argus: The scaly culpritThe scaly culprit (Image: SWNS)

He went to Worthing ­­Hospital, where doctors said it was likely he had been bitten by something.

Days later, Dave noticed a foul smell coming from his BWM R 1200 GS.

He removed a panel and was shocked to see a mangled snake - likely a European viper, experts say.

The Argus: Dave had tests at Worthing HospitalDave had tests at Worthing Hospital (Image: SWNS)

Accounting firm archivist Dave said: "I'm lucky to be alive. The consultant was amazed. He said, 'You shouldn't be here'.

"He said I should have died within 48 hours. He was really surprised that I hadn't even lost my leg.

"It's unbelievable - all sorts of things could have happened. It's a deadly snake that has been in my garage for weeks."

Dave, who has two sons aged 18 and 21, planned weeks biking in Europe after treatment for cancer in March.

The Argus: Dave rode his motorbike through France, Spain and Portugal this summerDave rode his motorbike through France, Spain and Portugal this summer (Image: SWNS)

He crossed the Channel then travelled down through France, across the north of Spain and into Portugal.

But he got ill after five days and then arrived back home on July 31.

He went to Eastbourne Airbourne on his bike on August 19 when he felt a searing pain in his right leg, which then swelled to such a size he couldn't move it.

The Argus: The route through SpainThe route through Spain (Image: SWNS)

Dave woke up the next day and, feeling no better, took himself to hospital.

Dave said: "I'm not good with spiders and snakes. As soon as I saw it in my motorbike the horror hit.

"I realised that's what had bitten me - and that I'd been carrying around snake venom in my leg.

"It was 45 degrees in Portugal. The snake must have crept between the panelling and the fuel tank to keep cool.

"I guess me and my partner squashed it when we sat on the bike to go to Eastbourne.

"Or I squashed it with my leg, so it bit me. But I didn't feel it through my biking jeans.

"I was surprised to see the bike leaking because it was new. I thought it might be oil or antifreeze but it stank and now I know it was from the dead snake.

"It's so bizarre to think I survived cancer and was then nearly taken out by a stowaway snake on my motorcycle."

An expert at the amphibian and reptile conservation trust, a charity, studied a picture of the snake.

They said: "It could be one of a few viper species: Seoane’s viper also known as the Iberian cross adder/Portuguese viper, or an asp viper or Lataste’s viper.

"I’d lean more towards the first two as the snake doesn’t seem to have an upturned/pointed nose.

"That being said, viper markings and colouration can be incredibly variable.

"This animal looks very similar to our own species of viper, the adder and is indeed somewhat closely related."