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As a provider of van insurance quotes, we hear some pretty strange stories about life behind the wheel – but this is a new one.

While opening up the doors of a hire van in Manchester, the driver got a shock when he found a five-foot-long North American Red Corn Snake slithering around the back. Fortunately, unlike its more dangerous cousins, this species doesn't pose much of a risk to humans – being a non-venomous constrictor which mostly feeds on a diet of mice, birds, rats, and other small animals.

Regardless, the man's employers probably wanted the stowaway removed from the van as soon as possible but the snake didn't seem willing to oblige – scarpering down a small hole to a position just above the van's wheel arch. Consequently, it took a reptile expert approximately two hours to extract him.

The snake's owner has now been reunited with his pet, and has decided to change its name from Houdini (which is rather ironic) to 'Mysterious' – as he has no idea how it got away. Although we can only speculate how the serpent managed to slither onto the van, it seems he went missing while his owner was using the vehicle to move house. Apparently, corn snakes are great at breaking out of places and individuals should keep a watchful eye to prevent escapes.

Therefore, with all the stresses of moving house, perhaps it is no surprise that Mysterious managed to get away. At iVan, our van insurance team hope his owners are a bit more careful in the future – and try to prevent Mysterious from climbing onto other commercial vehicles.

Photo © Biodiversity Heritage Library via Flickr under Creative Commons