LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A curious pickup truck driver spotted a box in the grass marked "Live venomous reptile" east of downtown and stopped to take a look.
"When you see something like that, you want to look and see what it is," Paul Mitchell of Little Rock said of his Friday afternoon discovery. "I went over and kicked the box."
The electrician looked inside and found a cloth bag slithering into the form of a cobra ready to strike.
"I was like, 'Hot dog! That thing is big!'" Mitchell said.
Mitchell grabbed up the box, put it in the bed of his truck and took it to the Little Rock Zoo.
"I was just going to take it back to work and kill it, but I figure cobras aren't indigenous to Arkansas," Mitchell said. "I knew the zoo would have a snake handler."
Randal Berry, the zoo's reptile keeper, took the snakes in out of concern for public safety. He said the zoo doesn't usually take in animals.
Berry said the cobra was very aggressive as he pulled it from the sack, repeatedly rearing its hooded head. Also inside the box were a 14-inch-long twig snake; an East African bright green mamba that measured 6 feet long, and a 4-foot black mamba. All are highly venomous and there is no antivenin in Arkansas.
Berry said the snakes were in good condition and estimated that, together, they were worth about $1,000.
No one knows where the snakes came from. The box had no markings other than "Live venomous snakes." Berry said no snakes were missing from the zoo.
Cindy Dawson, assistant city attorney and zoo docent, guessed that the snakes came into the city illegally. Keeping, selling, possessing or maintaining venomous reptiles is illegal, though some exceptions are made for education, research and entertainment.
City officials said they're hopeful all the snakes are accounted for, but that they would remind any animal control workers that calls reporting any exotic snakes could be serious and not pranks.
Zoo officials said they haven't decided what they're going to do with the snakes, including the seething cobra.
"I don't want it here," Berry said with a laugh. "He's not a nice guy."
How many of you have had a close encounter with one of those things? I did today and had the living h*ll scared out of me.
I was walking between a building and a retaining wall when a large black snake decided to come out of hiding. I was in a close, narrow area and didn't have anywhere to go. The snake didn't know which way it was going either.
I was trying to get out of it's way and every way I tried to step the snake was there. I finally made a dash towards the end of the building and got away, not before scaring my helper with all the yelling I was doing. He was 50 feet away from the end of the building when this was going on.
He is really scared of those things and all I got out of him was "I told you so" the rest of the afternoon.
It is bad when you don't know what you are doing because you are out of your element (or in the above case they are). Back in 1982, while in the Philipines I had my lack of intellegence tested when we found a snake in our apartment. I went up to it, squating down directly in front of the snake and examined its head and concluded that since the head was not broad like a rattler but narrow like a garter snake, it was harmless. I turned my back on the snake and told those I was with that the snake was ok, heard a hiss and turned back to see a cobra behind me with their cape spread. I told the others I was wrong at that point.
I am glad these made it to safety for those others like me, judge by the wrong set of rules.
Reminds of an inciden last year when we were doing a Telemetry Compliance Review project for Anglian Water.
I received this "urgent" phone call from one of the Guys to say they had lifted the Steel covers from a sump pit in a remote Sewage Pumping Works (SPW), the Anglian Water engineer was panicing as this snake appeared from steps into the pit and prompty made a move to strike at him. Julian used his Camera Phone to take a few picture to us in the office in an attempt to identify it.
Another Anglian water engineer said is wasn't a UK snake as it was about 4ft long but as thick as a mans arm...with the description we had, the only snakes we could identify of that size were all mebers of the Viper family, and the closest was a deadly Gabbon Viper.
Needless to say the Guys were in a bit of a panic as people tend not to encounter even our native snakes, let alone highly poisonous ones.
Eventually the Police arrived with a Vet, they managed to capture the snake about 15 minutes after they arrived.
When it was identified it was a shock, it was certainly a deadly viper..but not a Gabbon Viper, but our very own Adder.
The snake was taken to a Zoo and the keepers identified as a very mature Female which had to true full size, apparently it is very rare to find one of this size, and it's markings were of the darker variety that is usually seen so most poeple tend not to recognise them.
It was interesting to find out that even though this was "only" an Adder, it's bite would contain enough venom to make a healthy person very ill for a few days, and anyone with a heart problem or similar health issue could easily be killed by it.
Until then I never knew Adders could be dangerous...Seems that they have extremely effective and deadly venom, but for some reason it doesn't effect humans in the same way it effects Rodents, reptiles etc that they feed on..Thankfully.
Julian had some serious ribbing for a couple of months over that incident
One day while working on a cardboard baler, we were cleaning up after finishiing when my partner spotted a snake. We carefully coaxed it into a trach can and slapped a lid on it. We were pretty sure it was a copperhead and we wanted to get it outside quickly and safely.
We took the trash can out the front door, but the security geuard insisted on seeing inside the can, especially when we told her it was a snake. (Maybe all the pratical jokes should have warned her not to look.) Anyway, when the lid came off, she screamed and started to beat on my partner's shoulders and head, so we ran out of the building with the can and put the very agitated sanke out in the grass as far away from the building as we could.
The next day we got questioned about the whole incident since it was all on tape, I asked for a copy to see the whole thing, but they wouldn't give me one, though it was hilarious to watch on CCTV. (Security cameras have amazing resolution.)