A Long Island man is recovering from a deadly bite by his pet snake, an Egyptian saw-scaled viper, after being airlifted to a New York City hospital for emergency treatment.
The 33-year-old West Babylon man was handling the deadly viper, one of his six illegal pet snakes, late Monday night when it sunk its fangs into his hand. He also owns two rattlesnakes, one monocled cobra, one African puff adder and one Western African viper, police said.
“All six snakes are illegal in New York state,” said Roy Gross, chief of department of the Sullfolk County SPCA. He said the man was lucky that he wasn’t killed by the viper bite — and luckier yet that it was not the monocled cobra or the puff adder, which are even deadlier.
The venom from his viper had the potential to paralyze him and cause his organs to shut down one by one.
“He apparently had been handling these snakes for some time and thought he knew what he was doing. But if you play with fire you are going to get burned,” Gross said.
The man had to be taken by helicopter to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx because it is one of the few hospitals in the area equipped to treat the exotic snake bite. Luckily, they had the appropriate anti-venom for the bite, and he was released from the hospital.
As for the illegal snakes, they were all confiscated, said Gross, adding that it is likely that the man will be charged for having possession of the contraband.
Gross added that the Suffolk County SPCA will be having an amnesty drop off where people may drop off their illegal reptiles and mammals without any charges on Oct. 15 at 725 Veterans Highway, building 16, in Hauppauge.