“King Of All Poisonous Snakes” Found Hiding In Family’s Christmas Tree

Johan Marais/African Snakebite Institute

Merry Hiss-mas! That’s the season’s greeting one family got when they discovered a poisonous snake hiding out in their Christmas tree.

The Wild family from South Africa found a gift of the animal kind in their Christmas tree, but it wasn’t just any animal. It was one of Africa’s most venomous snakes called a boomslang snake.

“I didn’t know what it was at the time, but then I Googled what snakes are in our area, and it came up immediately as a boomslang,” dad Rob Wild told CNN. “I thought, ‘Holy Moses, this is the king of all poisonous snakes.’ ”

The 55-year-old told media that he and his wife knew their tree had an inhabitant when their cats kept staring into the tree. Assuming there was a mouse hiding in the boughs, the couple took a closer look only to find a snake there.

When hunting, the boomslang waits in a bush or tree for its prey. The snake disguises itself as a limb by extending the forepart of its body and staying motionless. Boomslang bites are rare and the snake is considered non-aggressive, but for the unlucky few who are victims of a bite, the chances of survival are slim as even a tiny amount of the venom can be fatal.

After Googling the snake and discovering the startling fact that they are poisonous, Rob Wild called a professional snake catcher, Gerrie Heyns, to remove the critter that was estimated to be between 4.3 and 4.9 feet long. Heyns, speculates that the boomslang likely made its way into the home in search of food, water or shelter and sought cover in the tree after being frightened by pets or the family.

Watch the dramatic boomslang Christmas tree rescue in the video below.