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1993 At-Risk Survivor
The stupidity displayed by the participants in the following tales stops short of the ultimate Darwin Awards sacrifice. Nevertheless, we salute the spirit and innovation of their misadventures. Next Prev Random

Warm Snakes
1983 At-Risk Survivor
Confirmed True by Darwin

(4 April 1983, Washington, DC) Gaboon vipers are large, aggressive, ill tempered, and among the most venomous snakes in the world. Despite these characteristics, they are normally sedentary. So it was not difficult for Louis, who had a penchant for snakes, to purloin two from the National Zoo. He shoved them into a plastic garbage bag, where they remained, quite docile, until Louis boarded a warm city bus. When the snakes warmed up, they roused from lethargy and realized how undesirable their new accommodations were. Naturally they decided to move. Our 16-year-old herpetologist was bitten when one of the vipers ripped its fangs through the plastic bag.

He landed in the hospital, where antivenin serum was administered until he regained his senses. The purloined vipers were taken to the basement of the zoo's reptile house, where they were treated to a week of stress-free observation.


Viper venoms are hemotoxic (act on the blood) as compared to the neurotoxic venoms of elapids (cobras and adders). The Viper family has three subfamilies: the mountain viper Azemiopinae, true viper Viperinae, and pit viper Crotalinae. They are found worldwide. -Introduction to Herpetology, 3rd ed., Goin, Goin, and Zug, pp333-36. © 1994 - 2017
Submitted by: Michael W Taylor
Reference: Washington Post

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