python, generic
Photo for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Pixabay

As souvenirs go, it is a unique one. A woman has returned to Scotland from a holiday in Australia to discover a stowaway snake hidden in one of her shoes.

In an incident that will confirm the worst fears of visitors to Australia, Moira Boxall unpacked her luggage after the more than 9,400 mile-journey (15127km-journey) from Queensland to find the small and very much alive creature curled up in her slip-ons. It even shed its skin during its voyage in her footwear.

The resilient reptile — later identified as a non-venomous spotted python, a breed commonly kept as a pet — travelled safely from Mackay to Glasgow, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Paul Airlie, Boxall’s son-in-law, told the ABC news network that when Boxall opened her bag and saw the animal she thought it was a toy put there as a prank.

Boxall said throughout her visit Airlie had deliberately tried to downplay how common snakes were in Queensland, so as not to alarm her.

After making the surprise discovery, Boxall put the shoe in the garden with a box over the top. She then called Airlie, who contacted the Scottish RSPCA.

He told ABC: “She said she’s not so keen to come back and visit. But I suspect she will — she’ll have to think about it at first.”

The snake is in quarantine in Scotland.