South Essex Wildlife Hospital’s founder Sue Schwar was terrified seeing a dangerous snake that was placed inside commodities in a container and reached Britain. He said: “It’s dangerous because it’s not native to us. It comes from India. They’re highly venomous, and they’re very, very aggressive”.
It was turned out, the snake is a saw-scaled viper, one of the deadliest snakes in the world, according to South Essex Wildlife Hospital on Twitter. South Essex Wildlife Hospital is a wildlife rescue, treatment and rehabilitation charity in the UK.
The saw-scaled viper is the smallest of the “Big Four” snakes, the four species of snake that cause the most deaths annually worldwide, according to AnimalResearch.info, a resource created by a UK not-for-profit organization focused on humane animal research.
“Because, they’re small, they’re more aggressive, they bite more people. As far as kill rates, they kill more people than other bigger snakes do”, Schwar says.
If you’re bitten, the venom could kill you unless you get access to an antivenom. Even with the antivenom, the toxins in its bite break down our ability to form blood clots, causing many survivors to intensely bleed and lose their limbs, according to National Geographic.
Schwar points out that it’s especially dangerous to find them in Britain because most snakes from the region are harmless, so hospitals are not equipped with the antivenom needed to treat people bitten by these deadly snakes.
Just imagine what would happen if the snake succeeded in slipping out of the container and reach any nearby bush or house.
Lucky for the British workers, the snake spent weeks on end in a chilly container, which likely subdued it since reptiles need warmth to be active, CNN reports.
South Essex Wildlife Hospital sent a reptile expert and vet to collect the specimen, and they put the snake in a locked box in a sealed room. To be extra careful, the vet taped the door shut. Several warning signs have also been placed on the door.
“We are glad not to have to deal with venomous creatures too often but feel sad for the snake that we can’t give it is freedom and get it back home”, said the South Essex Wildlife Hospital on Twitter.
It’s not the first time the wildlife charity has found one of these snakes in Britain, Schwar says. Years ago, they found the exact same species, also in a stonemason’s shipping container from India. The wildlife hospital followed a similar process of locking the snake up and securing the room. More experienced wildlife experts then came to pick up the snake and bring it to its new home.
Well, it is not the only case that South Essex Wildlife Hospital had only seen two dangerous snakes inside consignment from India to Britain, similar dangerous species might have also arrived in the UK in other consignments shipped from India.
What Indian exporters and the customs would say about sending dangerous snakes inside containers? Do they consider it as just “an isolated incident” or would admit the lack of due surveillance and scanning facilities in their ports of shipments?
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