Two smuggled pythons were found in a suitcase among personal items by Guardia Civil officers in the port of Algeciras.
The live snakes were spotted on the monitor while the suitcase was scanned.
Officers opened the suitcase which belonged to a Senegalese man travelling to Spain from Tangier last Wednesday.
He admitted ownership of the reptiles but was unable to show any documents related to ownership or importation of the animals.
The two pythons, ball python (Python Regius) and African rock python (Python Sebae), are listed as protected species by CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The possession of protected species of wild fauna without proper documentation proving their legal origin is an offence in Spain under importation laws.
The man was arrested and appeared before the Spanish courts in Algeciras.
The pythons, which are said to be in good health, were seized and will be transferred to a local wildlife centre to be cared for.