Handler on possibly loose viper: "This is nothing to play with" - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Handler on possibly loose viper: "This is nothing to play with"

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This gaboon viper is about two feet smaller than the one that's possibly missing. This gaboon viper is about two feet smaller than the one that's possibly missing.
CHARLESTON, SC - (WCBD) The Town of Mt. Pleasant is on high alert.  Just days after the Harbor Pointe apartment complex alerted its residents about a possible loose gaboon viper, experts are warning neighbors near the area to be careful.

"This is nothing to play with," Raymond Covington said. "They need to get a group out to look for this thing."

Related: Dangerous Gaboon Viper possibly loose inside Mt. Pleasant complex 

Covington runs a nuisance wildlife company that specializes in removing animals, such as snakes and alligators.  He said he was shocked when he heard the news that the apartment complex found what he said is skin from the viper.  The snake is one of the most venomous snakes in the world, and it lives in areas like South Africa.

There have been many rumors spreading around about how this type of snake could have ended up slithering around Mt. Pleasant.  Covington said he thinks someone had the snake as a pet and let it go.

"It could have got out from a ship [at the Port]. I am more thinking it was a homeowner that said it's too big. They can't handle it [any] more and released it," he said.

While an apartment manager tells News 2 they have had no reports of any sightings over the weekend, some neighbors are still worried.

"We were watching Channel 2, and we heard that there is a poisonous snake of some sort running around our neighborhood," Howard Bradbrooke said. "Since I'm afraid of snakes, it's been on my mind."

The gaboon viper is known for it's ambush-style of attack.  A snake handler said the reptile could just sit for days in the same spot, waiting for its prey.

"It doesn't even have to move," LeJohn Robeson said. "It will be totally still, and it will strike. Just like that. It'll bite you and it will hold, envenomnate you, then it will release you."

There has also been talk about the authenticity of the snake skin Harbor Pointe management found.  Robeson said the skin doesn't appear to be fake and does in fact look like the type of skin a gaboon viper sheds.

Experts estimate the size of the snake to be around three to four feet long.  Gaboon vipers are drawn to warm places, so during cooler temperatures the snake will look for warmer place such as under leaves or near homes.
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