A Utah man is in a bit of hot water after firefighters, responding to a report of a blaze, found half a dozen venomous snakes among 28 serpents in the individual’s home, located in Clearfield, north of Salt Lake City.
The unidentified individual did not have a permit for the venomous snakes, which were uninjured in the fire.
The vipers, which were kept in cages in a separate room, included five rattlesnakes, and, rather astonishingly, a gaboon viper, one of the most deadly snakes known to man.
Gaboon vipers, which grow up to six feet in length, are native to sub-Saharan Africa, have fangs up to two inches long and possess the highest venom yield of any snake in the world.
The snake’s bite can, not surprisingly, have a rather distasteful effect on humans, including: rapid and conspicuous swelling, intense pain, severe shock, defecation, urination, swelling of the tongue and eyelids, convulsions and unconsciousness. In addition, there may be sudden hypotension, heart damage and shortness of breath. The victim’s blood may become incoagulable with internal bleeding that may lead to vomiting of blood.
(I know what you’re thinking: Urination, defecation and vomiting of blood – now that’s a good time.)
Also, local tissue damage may require surgical excision and possibly amputation. Healing may be slow and fatalities during the recovery period are not uncommon.