Fa-la-la-la forget this. A family said they got an unwanted present this year when they found the “king of all poisonous snakes” hiding in their Christmas tree. How naughty do you have to be for Santa to leave a deadly snake under the tree?
Rob and Marcela Wild told CNN said they had no idea that anything was amiss when they decorated their tree on Friday. It wasn’t until hours later that their cats first noticed something could be up.
“The cats were peering into the tree, and my wife said ‘there’s probably a mouse in there somewhere,” The South African dad said.
A mouse would have been a dream to what he found. Past the ornaments and tinsel were a four-foot-long boomslang, one of the deadliest snakes in Africa. You can see a video of the snake in the Wilds’ tree below, but if you’re not a fan of snakes, I’d suggest skipping it if you ever want to celebrate Christmas again.
“I didn’t know what it was at the time, but then I Googled what snakes are in our area, and it came up immediately as a boomslang. I thought, ‘Holy Moses, this is the king of all poisonous snakes,'” he said.
The boomslang can kill a human with only a few drops of its venom. For reference, this is what IFL Science says happens next.
“What this unfortunately means is that massive hemorrhage ensues, causing the victim to bleed from the gums, nose, and other orifices. Sometimes, the body of the victim will turn blue because of the widespread internal bleeding.”
And it’s a slow, painful process. It can take up to 5 days to die from a boomslang bite, the site says, and, luckily, antivenom exists.
Snake Handler Explains How He Caught the Snake Up the Tree
The Wilds called in local wrangler Gerrie Heyns to take the female snake away.
Heynes made it to their house in about 90 minutes and was able to catch the snake without much fuss. He coaxed the boomslang out of the Christmas tree, pinned it down, and picked it up. He posted a video to YouTube showing the capture.
“Once I had it under control the family came right up to see the snake,” he said. “It didn’t try to bite or be defensive because I gave it no reason to. A scary moment turned into an exciting moment for the children.”
He put the snake in a “snake tube” and released it back into the wild later, he told UPI. He said the snake probably snuck into the house looking for food and water.
“Probably when it saw the first movement it tried to escape into the nearest hiding place, which was the tree,” he said.
Heynes noted the boomslangs rarely attack people and are more likely to run away than confront someone.