Scottish tourist finds python hiding in shoe after vacation to Australia

A python hitched a ride in a Scottish traveller's luggage on her return flight home from the exact country you're probably imagining.

Australian native Paul Airlie told ABC News Australia that while his mother-in-law, Moira Boxall, was visiting him and her daughter, Sarah, at the couple's Queensland home last week, she thought she spotted a snake in her room.

"She had woken up a few days before she left and thought she had seen a snake in her room and woke me up at 3:00 in the morning to check," Airlie told the outlet.

Airlie could not find the snake at the time and, days later, Boxall packed up her bags and flew 9,000 miles back home to Glasgow, a day-long journey.


Things proceeded as normal until she began unpacking her luggage and discovered the scaly stowaway, which had taken up residence in one of her shoes and even shed its skin during the trek. At first, the traveller imagined the snake was part of a prank, but upon realising it was very much alive, she panicked, according to her son-in-law.

"She actually thought that Sarah and I had put a fake snake in her shoe to wind her up, so at first she thought it was a joke until she touched it and it moved," Airlie told ABC. "She absolutely lost it — it was her first real encounter with a snake."

Boxall grabbed the shoe with the snake in it and put it in her garden with a box over the top and immediately called Airlie, who phoned the Scottish RSPCA.

"We had to tell them it was from Australia and that it could have been a venomous snake," he said. "Luckily we found out it was a spotted python so it was fine — it could have been worse."

Spotted pythons are not poisonous, but they can grow to lengths of over four feet, according to the Australia Zoo. ABC reports that the python is expected to be taken to a zoo in Glasgow after it was briefly quarantined.

As for Boxall? Her son-in-law says she's relatively unscathed but will not likely be returning to Australia any time soon.

"She said she's not so keen to come back and visit, but I suspect she will," he told ABC. "She'll have to think about it at first."