A PET snake has been reunited with its owner – after five months living inside the bodywork of a transit van.
Gavin Burnett lost his beloved Mushu back in the summer while transporting her in a Hertz removal van.
The nine-year-old ghost Cornsnake managed to escape the pillowcase and container she was being transported in and wriggled free while Gav was driving.
The 26-year-old from Cove, Aberdeen, only noticed Mushu had escaped after arriving at his in-laws house in Elgin.
Gavin, who now lives in Glasgow, searched the entire van even pulling apart the dash board but could not find her.
He and his girlfriend Jen gave up hope that they would ever see Mushu, named after the dragon in Mulan, again.
But yesterday another Aberdeen couple who had hired the van found Mushu slithering between the seats.
And despite finally being found, Mushu has been reluctant to leave her new home – taking Gavin and the SSSPA more than a day just to get him out. At one point the reptile head was spotted poking out from a seatbelt anchor point.
Gav said: “I didn’t sleep much last night so I’m just glad it’s over with now to be honest.
“We gave up hope, thinking we wouldn’t get him back after about four weeks of him going missing but then my friend flagged up the post on Facebook I couldn’t stop shaking. I knew straight away it was him.
“There’s only two vans that get hired at that B and Q so she would have been out and about this whole time. Basically, he’s had a five month tour of Scotland.
“I had been taking him up to Elgin to stay at my girlfriends parents and she escaped from the pillowcase he was in which was in a container.
“When we got there I emptied the pillowcase and just couldn’t find her so me and my girlfriends dad stripped the whole van trying to find her.
“We looked in all the seals, took half the dash out and couldn’t find her so. Looking back I know exactly where he was hiding. I think she was in between the part that separates the body panels.”
Speaking today Gavin revealed that the snake was finally coaxed out by running the van’s engine for five hours – making the interior irresistibly warm.
He added: “I’m just so glad we finally managed to get her out.
“We didn’t get access to the van until about 7pm last night and then we were working until 11.30pm trying to coax her out.
“We went back again this morning at 8 and searched until about 2pm.
“Then, when we were confident she wasn’t in the dash, we put the heating on for about four to five hours so she would feel comfortable coming out.”
The offshore worker added: “I had actually just popped away for some lunch and I got a call saying her head had popped out the seat belt hole then sure enough there she was.
“Once I got there I was just able to open the door and grab her. I think she was happy to see us because she didn’t coil up or anything and was happy to be held.
“So we will be taking her back home now but first of all I need to put the van back and take it back to Hertz!”
Mushu was discovered in a Hertz van by house mover Susan Grayson and her partner from Aberdeen.
Susan admitted being “completely terrified” after spotting the snake slithering around the side of her seat.
She refused to get back in and contacted the SSPCA to come and collect the snake.
Images of the snake were sent into Facebook page, Fubar News showing the reptile sliding behind the seats and slithering along the arm rest.
Astonishingly, within an hour Gavin came forward claiming it was his snake.
Hundreds of shocked social media users took to the original post saying finding the snake would be their worst nightmare.
Pauline Smith said: “I would have sh** my pants.”
Andrew Dinnett wrote: “Don’t think I’ll be renting a van anytime soon.”
Owen Baird said: “Absolutely no way!!! I’d freak out.”
And Linsay Wares wrote: “I’m already planning a full check of hire car in Florida! But in Aberdeen.