Pet snake missing for five months found in Aberdeen van … but Mushu gives rescuers the slip


A man has described the moment he heard his girlfriend’s snake had been found in a rental van – five months after going missing.

Gavin Burnett, 26, was transporting Mushu, a corn snake, to Elgin in June when it escaped from a tied-up pillow case and got lost in a Hertz vehicle.

However, after fearing the reptile was lost for good, it was spotted in the same van after a couple came across it in the Seaton area of Aberdeen yesterday.

Gavin Burnett, owner of the snake

The offshore worker, who now lives in Glasgow, said: “I am absolutely buzzed that someone has found Mushu. I only rented the van for half-a-day, however, I had to rent it for longer after Mushu somehow escaped from the pillow case which was on the passenger seat.

“The last time I saw Mushu was in Fochabers, but by the time I got to Elgin he had disappeared.”

After reporting the incident to the Scottish SPCA and Hertz, Gavin hired the vehicle for longer in an effort to find the non-venomous creature, which belongs to his girlfriend Jennifer Paterson.

“I had to strip out the van several times and put in heat detection devices to try to find the snake,” Gavin added.

“I then took it to a garage where they took the dashboard out to look for Mushu, but still no joy. After around a week I handed it back to Hertz. My girlfriend and I were really upset.”

His girlfriend had had Mushu for nine years, he said, and was devastated.

Yesterday afternoon at around 2pm Gavin received a message from his friends about the snake being found and, as soon as he heard, headed up to Aberdeen from Glasgow.


Mushu was taken to the SSPCA centre in Drumoak where officers went through the van to try to find the snake.

Scottish SPCA senior inspector Alison Simpson said: “Following a call from a member of the public in the Aberdeenshire area we attended an incident where a snake was spotted trapped in a rental van.

“Unfortunately the snake has not yet been located, even with the help of an engineer.”