While decorating their Christmas tree for the holiday, a British family living in South Africa found a very venomous snake inside of it.
The tale of surprise serpent was reported by UK news publication The Mirror.
The Mirror reported, “A British family got the fright of their life after decorating their Christmas tree when a poisonous snake poked its head out from behind a bauble.”
The family in question is appropriately named the Wild family.
“Rob and Marcela Wild were admiring the tree with children Edward, 11, and Sahara, six, when they spotted the deadly boomslang nestle between the tinsel at their home in Cape Town, South Africa,” the report continued.
The Mirror noted, “The reptile is the country’s most venomous snake ahead of the mamba and the cobra and one bite could prove fatal without treatment.”
Rob Wild told The Mirror, “We’d just decorated the tree and the kids were putting the presents beneath it before turning the lights on.”
“Marcela went to have a look and moved a bauble and saw a snake’s head staring straight back at her,” Wild said.
Wild immediately went to Google to find out what kind of snake they were dealing with and discovered it was a Boomslang. The Mirror reported that it was “one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.”
Boomslangs are “largely tree-living.” Typically, they do not threaten because they simply stick to their natural habitat.
The African Snakebite Institute states on its website that, “The Boomslang is largely tree-living but may descend to the ground to bask. In trees it poses no threat to humans as it is extremely reluctant to bite and bites are rare.”
However, the Institute also notes that “Boomslang venom is haemotoxic and compromises the blood clotting mechanism, causing uncontrolled bleeding if not treated. The South African Vaccine Producers manufacture a monovalent antivenom for Boomslang bites that is very effective.”
The family ended up contacting wild snake catcher Gerrie Heyns to remove the snake.
Heyns told The Mirror, “It wasn’t an easy catch as it was very nippy and it kept going up and down and round and round the tree and I was trying not to upset the decorations or lights.”
“They won’t attack unless they feel extremely threatened and only to defend themselves and I suspect this one slipped into the house to get shade,” Heyns added.
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