OK here’s a good one for you snake lovers out there.  Back in 2010 a Boomslang came and paid our campus a visit.  Though these snakes live in this area they are rarely seen due to the fact that they spend most of their lives in trees.  Why this guy decided to crawl behind a student’s backpack is beyond me.  Anyway, it was caught and deposited into a glass case before anyone knew what kind it was.  That’s when the reptile books came out, and hearts sank as it was discovered that this is one of the more deadly snakes in east Africa.  Though timid, and rarely provoked enough to bite, if this one does manage to get its teeth into you, death is almost certain without treatment.  Due to the nature of this snake, a debate rapidly ensued as to whether it should become permanent preserved wall art or released into the surrounding forest.  All agreed that it shouldn’t stay on campus if it remained alive.  Finally after three days, the snake was released in the forest, and I imagine quickly told its friends to avoid RVA… it’s a dangerous place for snakes.

This is a very fascinating snake with several unique characteristics.  It has slightly key-hole shaped irises, strange ripples run down its body when it is about to pounce on its prey, and it sports a very odd looking defensive hood behind its neck rather than on its head as in most snakes.  If bitten, the person rarely feels any pain and no redness develops around the bite area leading many to conclude that it was a harmless bite.  Symptoms begin showing up the following day and they include bleeding from all internal organs as well as external soft tissues such as the gums, ears, and nose lining.  Once the sysmptoms develop, no treatment is available, and the victom will die a very painful death as their tissues slowly dissolve.

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