Two venomous pit vipers were delivered to a US post office in a box that was supposed to contain T-shirts, local reports say.
The box was shipped from the Philippines to Beaver County post office in Pennsylvania around 8,500 miles away, police told the Beaver County Times. The box had been labelled by the sender as containing T-shirts.
US Customs were contacted by the Postal Service when inspectors became suspicious of the contents.
When a waterways conservation officer opened the package, two dead venomous pit vipers were inside. It is believe that the snakes were alive when they were put in the box.
More snakes were found in the home of the person to whom the package was addressed, but Mr Christ said that he was unsure what the person intended to do with the snakes had they arrived alive.
Snakes – even venomous ones – are available to buy in Pennsylvania if you obtain a permit, but mailing an animal is a federal offence.
Henry Kacprzyk, curator of reptiles at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium warned that mailing a foreign snake could be extremely dangerous because the appropriate medical treatment may not be available to someone who is bitten.
Hospitals carry antidotes for the venom of snakes that are common to the US, but they will not always have an antidote for a snake from another country.
“People are taking risks,” Mr Kacprzyk said. “People assume that if they get a bite, they can go to the hospital, and that is not the case.”Reuse content