17. A zoo employee was bitten by an African puff adder, a large poisonous snake. He was trying to put the snake into a bag so that it could be moved to a new snake house. The snake handler was wearing heavy gloves and thick boots, but the adder sank its fangs into the man's neck. The handler squeezed the snake's neck tightly, forcing the snake to withdraw its fangs. He then put the snake into the bag and tied the bag.
He called 911 to report that he had been bitten by the adder. When paramedics arrived at the new snake house, neither snake nor man was there. The paramedics started walking back toward the old snake house. A few moments later, they found the handler lying unconscious on a pathway. Curiously, the bag with the snake still in it was covering the man's head and part of his chest.
The paramedics handed the bag to another zoo employee, who delivered the snake to its new home. They then transported the handler to the city hospital. Later, a hospital spokesman said that the handler was in good condition. He said that viper bites can cause a lot of tissue damage in the immediate area of the bite if not treated properly and quickly, but it looked like this victim would recover completely.
The zoo director said that this particular adder had a nasty reputation. This was the third time in six years that it had managed to bite someone. Fortunately, the previous two victims also recovered fully. In the future, the director joked, they might call the bomb disposal unit to handle the snake. 7.2, 275
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