If you were looking for a reason to view your beautiful Christmas tree with distrust, how about the fact that there could be a snake hiding in it? Such was the case for a family in South Africa, who were forced to deal with the grim reality of not getting distracted by what’s under the tree for fear of what could be inside of it. Speaking to CNN, Rob and Marcela Wild were admiring their handy work after putting up their holiday decorations when they noticed that their cats were eyeing the tree like it was a predator. Thinking that they merely noticed a mouse inside, they got closer and realized that the situation was much, much worse. Poking its head out from the center of the tree was a snake.
This wasn’t just any snake, this was the boomslang, one of Africa’s most venomous and therefore deadly. See the video the family took of their snake-riddled Christmas tree below.
According to the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the boomslang’s venom is so potent that even a scratch from one can cause symptoms that, if left untreated, could have precluded the Wild family from seeing 2022. Typically symptoms don’t start for roughly 24-48 hours. In the wild, they tend to prefer hiding in trees and bushes. It is theorized that the snake came into the house looking for food and settled on a hiding place that was similar to one it would find outdoors (admittedly with less tinsel).
Fortunately for this family, they were able to get in touch with professional snake catcher Gerrie Heyns who was able to confirm via photos that the family was indeed dealing with a boomslang. In other bad news, he was two hours away from the family’s home near Capetown. He instructed Rob to keep his distance from the reptile but to also keep his eyes on it so that it doesn’t escape to another hiding place. While it was very likely a tense two hours of having a staredown with a snake that could easily kill him, his family, and his pets, Rob did what he was instructed to do.
In the video above, obtained by The Daily Mail, Heynes can be seen using a pair of tongs to take the snake out of the tree and put it on the floor where it put up a bit of a fuss but was much easier to handle. Once he had it under control, he allowed the kids to take a better look at their unwelcome, but decidedly cool, holiday guest.
Heynes noted that, although the boomslang is venomous and deadly, it isn’t aggressive. They’ll do anything to avoid a confrontation with a human, kind of like the Hulk avoiding fights because he knows he’ll win. Therefore, most of the people who are bitten by a boomslang snake are handlers who make it feel threatened and backed into a corner.
So, this holiday season, if you find a boomslang snake in your Christmas tree, don’t panic. Call the appropriate snake-catching authorities.