Britain's Foreign Office has defended its decision to spend £10,000 on the restoration of a stuffed anaconda.
A taxpayers' lobby group says given the government's austerity programme, the snake - known as Albert - should have gone to a museum.
Albert is thought to have been a gift to the Colonial Secretary of what is now Guyana in South America in the 19th century.
Officials have confirmed that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is obliged to maintain its assets and so work on Albert was regarded as essential maintenance, the BBC reports.
The six-metre-long snake was sent to the Natural History Museum and received an X-ray CT scan as part of his makeover that took five weeks.
Albert is now back home hanging from the ceiling in the Foreign Office.