A snake hitched a ride all the way from Australia to Scotland after hiding inside a woman’s shoe.
The reptile, a non-venomous python, was found inside a slip-on shoe belonging to Moira Boxall, 72, who was returning home from visiting family Down Under - more than 10,000 miles away.
Moira, from Bridge of Allan, Stirling, had spent seven weeks in Mackay, Queensland staying with her daughter Sarah and her husband Paul Airlie.
Flying from Mackay to Glasgow - via Brisbane and Dubai - Moira and her slithering stowaway travelled 11,708 miles door to door.
The retired building society worker said she was woken up in the middle of the night by a loud crash.
Moira said: “Three weeks ago I was woken up in the middle of the night with a crash in my bedroom.
“I saw a snake on the floor slithering along by a skirting board, it had knocked a plant pot over.”
Moira left the room to alert her daughter and son-in-law, but when she returned to her room there sneaky snake was gone.
She said: “It must have moved after I left the room.
“My son-in-law thought I had been dreaming.
“I had a snake catcher in the next morning and ransacked my room, but found nothing.
“He thought it might have escaped because they can get out of small places.”
Moira didn’t see any sign of the reptile for weeks - until she picked up a pair of shoes she had taken with her on holiday to Oz and the elusive creature reappeared.
She said: “Last Thursday morning I took a shoe out and I thought it was a small piece of bubble wrap, but the snake had actually shed its skin.
“Then I saw the snake wriggling out with its fangs showing.
“I took it outside in a box and phoned my daughter who called the SPCA.
“A lady then came round and used a pillowcase to removed it safely.”
She added: “I was in an awful state of shock.”
The snake turned out to be a non-venomous spotted python and Moira was told the snake could be rehomed.
She believed the snake had been making its self at home in her shoe for three weeks and had survived the mammoth trip from Australia to Scotland while in the plane’s freezing hold.
Moira said: “I had been travelling for about 48 hours from Mackay to Glasgow, with a few stops in between.
“It must have lived without food, but I heard sometimes they can go into hibernation.
“It was in my suitcase all that time in the hold, it must have been very cold.”
Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer Taylor Johnstone said: “I can confirm that we removed a snake from a property in Bridge of Allan.
“I responded to a call from a woman who had just returned from a holiday in Australia who had found a small snake inside her shoe in her suitcase.
“When I arrived, the snake had been contained by the caller, so I safely removed the snake from the property.
“Upon examination, the snake was found to be a spotted python which is not venomous.
“The snake is now in quarantine at our animal rescue and rehoming centre in Edinburgh.”