Poisonous new snake species makes its way to Dubai
A snake of African origin, known as a puff adder, has made its way to the UAE through Dubai Ports, according to Dubai Municipality.
Hesham Abdul Rahman Al Yahya, Head of Pest Control Section, said that Dubai Municipality has identified the snake, belonging to the viperidae snake family, as a puff adder which is highly poisonous. “It is a poisonous snake that originates from the African continent and is between 40 to 80cm in length. It can weigh up to six kilograms,” said Al Yahya.
Dr Reza Khan, specialist, wildlife and zoo management, Public Parks and Horticulture Department of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News that there is a minor population of this species found in the Arabian Peninsula. “If bitten, the inevitable result is death as we do not have antivenom for this viper snake in this part of the world,” explained Dr Khan. “However, it can be treated elsewhere with the proper antivenom since they are species specific.” He explained that death is not caused by the poison, but rather by envenomation (the process by which venom is injected).
Senior public health pest control officer Ruba Zayed Taha told 7Days newspaper that the snake was found during a routine inspection at Dubai Ports. She explained: “The snake was found inside the flight with goods and we are lucky to have found it, as it is a poisonous, deadly snake. Had we not found this snake, someone might have been killed.” She added: “It is crucial that we carry out these inspections as they could be lifesaving in many instances.”
Dr Sara Elliot, from the British Veterinary Hospital in Dubai, told 7Days: “These snakes are generally found throughout Africa but are also across the Arabian Peninsula. It is likely that this snake hitched a lift on the plane from one of the above regions. These snakes are quite aggressive and can often be found in areas highly populated by people.” She added: “This is a highly poisonous snake and has, in fact, been responsible for more deaths across Africa than any other species.”