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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Poisonous snake found in cargo in Dubai

Hisham Abdurrahman Al Yahya, head of the Public Health Pest Control Department at Dubai Municipality, said the African Puff Adder was found by the pest control laboratory at the Public Health Services department.
The African Puff Adder is the one of the most toxic species of snake and is capable of causing severe damage to muscle tissue and swelling potentially leading to death to the bite victim. Courtesy Dubai Municipality
The African Puff Adder is the one of the most toxic species of snake and is capable of causing severe damage to muscle tissue and swelling potentially leading to death to the bite victim. Courtesy Dubai Municipality

DUBAI // A poisonous snake was discovered amongst shipping cargo being imported into the emirate.

Hisham Abdurrahman Al Yahya, head of the Public Health Pest Control Department at Dubai Municipality, said the African Puff Adder was found by the pest control laboratory at the Public Health Services department.

The animal is known as ‘bitis arietans’ and belongs to the Viperidae family. It is the one of the most toxic species of snake and is capable of causing severe damage to muscle tissue and swelling potentially leading to death to the bite victim, he said.

Mr Al Yahya said the laboratory’s investigations found that this was the first time the species has been found in a shipment at one of Dubai’s ports.

The snake’s natural habitat is Sub-Saharan Africa and can grow between 40cm and 80cm long, weighing up to six kilograms.

It has a broad yellowish white head with scattered dark-coloured spots ranging from golden, silver, grey with a repetitive pattern of coloured scales.

“This kind of snake has sharp fangs able to pierce through human skin,” said a statement from Dubai Municipality.

The Pest Control Department checks shipments at various ports and airports to make sure they are free of pests that may be hazardous to public health and prevents the entry of any new species to Dubai and the UAE.

nhanif@thenational.ae