A truck carrying venomous snakes blew a tire and rolled over, releasing 30 poisonous snakes and a baby alligator along a Texas interstate. The passengers in the vehicle were taken to a nearby hospital. Officials performed a reverse 911 call to residents and businesses in the area letting them know that venomous snakes are on the loose. Animal control managed to round up 23 of the snakes, but a few are still missing, as is the baby alligator.
The snakes in the van included cottonmouths (also called water moccasins) and rattlesnakes. These snakes are indigenous to North America and could find suitable environments to survive in Texas. Cottonmouths can grow up to six feet in length and rattlesnakes can grow even larger, up to eight feet. One of the snakes in the truck was an especially large diamondback rattlesnake. Both cottonmouths and rattlesnakes are highly venomous vipers who can kill with a single bite.
The vehicle was traveling on an access road to Interstate 35 when it popped a tire and rolled over, giving the venomous snakes a chance to escape from captivity. The truck was transporting the snakes from the New Braunfels Snake Farm. A herpetologist, a scientist that studies reptiles and amphibians, drove the van and accompanying him was his 9-year-old grandson. The accident put both of their lives in danger when the truck rolled over and the snakes escaped.
Officials say that neither the herpetologist, nor his grandson were bitten, but they took the man and his grandson to the hospital for minor injuries. As of this time, animal control managed to capture 23 of the snakes. Local hospitals were alerted to the danger and instructed to keep antivenom on standby.
These venomous vipers usually avoid people, but putting them in a strange environment means that the loose snakes will be nervous and not know where to find a safe place for them to hide. When disturbed, they may rattle their tails or lean back with their mouths open and hiss to display the white interior of the mouth. Because these snakes can strike out from where they lay curled up, people need to keep a distance of at least five feet away from the snake at all times.
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