Yes, this is a real post! First, what is a gaboon viper? It’s a deadly viper found in Africa, among the most dangerous snakes in the world as a matter of fact. I believe I read somewhere they are the heaviest viper just ahead of the eastern diamondback and if I recall they also have the longest fangs. Here’s where the story gets crazy – we have one on the run in Charleston, well at least if he had legs he’d be on the run. Maybe it’s just me, but I get a kick out of that. Of course I used to teach environmental education and handle reptiles routinely so I’m not afraid of snakes. Of course I never handled venomous snakes nor do I recommend if you see a snake you try to pick it up. I wore the funny ranger looking outfit and presented to groups of kids, adults, tourists, women and children of all ages! Beach walks, loggerhead sea turtle walks, kayak and canoe tours, etc. Heck, I’ve even been bit twice by alligators. But onto the gaboon viper story!
title=”Story From ABC News”>http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/04/deadly-african-snake-on-the-loose-has-sc-community-on-lockdown/
A highly venomous snake, native to Africa, has been slithering around a South Carolina community, putting residents on edge.
“We walk our dogs every night and I have a flashlight with me everywhere I go, every step I take — it’s scary,” said Aaron Long, resident of the Harbour Pointe apartment complex in Mount Pleasant.
When a pest control company came last week to do a regular checkup on the bait boxes at the complex, the exterminator found snake skins nearby, took a picture, and reported it to the management office.
“The skin was still moist, indicating it was freshly shed,” Jennifer Bailey, an employee at the Harbor Pointe Apartments, told ABC News today.
To identify the snake, the office contacted a snake expert hours later who came in and said that the skin came from a Gaboon viper, an exotic snake not indigenous to the U.S. Another local herpetologist confirmed the identity through a photograph the pest control took, Bailey said.
Here’s some neat snake facts courtesy of Brandon!
-We have 7 species of venomous snakes in SC. Sidebar-snakes are venomous, not poisonous.
-6 of the 7 are pit vipers. Vipers have heat sensing organs on their head so they are kind of like the predator, they sense heat. I think that’s kind of cool.
-The snakes are the eastern diamondback, copperhead, cottonmouth (water moccasin), timber rattler, canebreak rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, and the coral snake.
-90% of snake bites from a venomous snake involve someone either trying to handle or kill the snake. Lesson here-let it be and it goes away. Often alcohol is also involved.
-50% of snake bites from a venomous snake don’t inject any venom. They actually prefer to keep the venom to catch food and it’s a last resort defense if they are frightened. Disclaimer-if you’re bit go immediately to the emergency room.
-It’s an old wives tale that baby snakes have more toxic venom. It’s just they are more easily frightened than an adult therefore more likely to inject venom on a bite than an adult.
-We don’t have the coral or Canebreak in the midlands.
-Don’t kill snakes, especially non-venomous ones! Snakes don’t carry germs or diseases but mice and rats do and a singe snake prevents millions of mice from being born over it’s life. Rodents can reproduce every 21 days so even killing a few mice does wonders for population control.
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