A deadly species of snake, believed to have killed more people than all other snake species combined, was discovered in Essex having been found stowed away in a shipping container.
The saw-scaled viper is thought to have arrived in the UK from India, when is was found by a stonemason in a container of rocks that they had ordered.
It was eventually collected and put in a “locked box” by the South Essex Wildlife Hospital, before it could wreak any havoc.
The wildlife hospital is understood to have identified the snake. They wrote on Twitter that, having seen one before, they “understood fully the gravity of just how dangerous these reptiles are.”
According to the hospital, the authorities had already been contacted and were not responding when their reptile experts stepped in.
The snake was apparently “very agitated” and “aggressive” when it was collected by a vet.
“It is now in a locked box in a sealed room (Tom taped up the door) with warning signs, awaiting collection from an appropriate facility,” the hospital explained.
“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 its freedom and get it back home,” they added.
Sue Schwar, the founder and manager of the charity said that the people who opened the crate and discovered the viper were "very lucky to be alive", BBC News reported.
She suggested that the snake was “probably cold from travelling, so was not too active.”
Saw-scaled vipers are officially known as Echis vipers and are usually found in the dry regions of Africa, the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
According to the National Geographic they are “agressive and hard to spot” with “potent venom.”
This venom contains enzymes called metalloproteinases which can cause haemorrhaging and lead to the victims bleeding to death.
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