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Snake gets loose in serpentarium

READ MORE: Snake gets loose in serpentarium
WILMINGTON -- The serpentarium on Orange Street in downtown Wilmington has some of the worlds deadliest snakes on display. A local couple says one of those snakes -- one of the most deadly -- got loose over the weekend. A snake was loose inside the serpentarium Saturday. A pair of visitors says it was the deadly green mamba snake. Workers at the serpentarium say that wasn't the case. Sina Norris and her husband got quite a scare Saturday at the serpentarium. They were looking at the exhibit for the venomous green mamba snake but couldn't find the snake. Norris said, "All of the sudden one of the girls standing next to me said, look up top there he is and there he was on top of the cage -- the green mamba." Norris told the employees about what she saw, and was quickly ushered into the lobby. "Ten minutes later they came back out and said that everything was fine," she said. "He said it was just a green snake." Tannith Tyrr works at the serpentaruim. She says the snake Norris saw on top of the cage was a dead ringer for the green mamba but was harmless. She says it was a snake commonly found in our area, that a kid brought in earlier in the week. Tyrr said, "A few days ago a young gentleman came in and was very proud of his catch and he offered us a rough green snake and I said no thank you. My suspicion is that he decided to leave it here for us and he decided that we were going to adopt it whether we liked it or not." Norris isn't buying it. "This was not a green snake," she said. "In my opinion the green snakes we see down here are two to three foot long at the most and their slender -- this snake was fatter." Though the cages look secure, Norris thinks the mamba might have gotten loose at feeding time. "It is posted on the door that they feed their animals in there at three everyday, so we were in there at four so maybe they didn't secure the cage good enough after they fed them. I don't know if they did feel that one, but I see that that's the only way he could have got out." Tyrr says every display is opened with a key, and the workers are trained to always lock the exhibits behind them. As for the missing mamba, Tyrr says Norris couldn't find him because he was hiding at the top of his cage. The serpentarium employees say a snake has never gotten out of a display. They say it was just a coincidence that a green snake got in and was found near the mamba display.

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Do the math

How long would it take to catch a deadly, lightning-fast green mamba that is totally on the loose on top of a tall structure, and then do a thorough investigation and safety inspection to find out what happened? A lot longer than ten minutes. Mambas are the fastest moving snakes on the planet, and catching one is a very serious procedure requiring special safety equipment. Doing a safety investigation before re-opening would take even more time. How long does it take to pick a rough green snake off the roof? About ten minutes, most of which is setting up the ladder carefully so the exhibit doesn't get damaged. Do the math, folks. It's pretty easy.

A good reason for more snakes as pets

Sina Norris and her husband should be required to spend an hour or two with a pet snake and hold a tame one. To become hysterical, freak out about a non-existent danger, and then make a scene on the news is beyond ridiculous. More people should own snakes so more people can understand these animals and stop freaking out on stereotypical misguided ideas of what snakes do. These kinds of snakes only attack people in a defensive manner when disturbed. It can be out of its cage and you can look at it all day long without fear. You can come within a couple feet of it too if you really wanted to. People only get bit when they pick up the snake or when it thinks it's being attacked or is about to be stepped on. They don't want to hunt people. Furthermore, this particular species of snake would not survive North Carolina winters in the rare event it did get out. Iguanas and pythons commonly die in Florida when they have frost warnings. There is no chance a snake like this would survive on its own in the wild here given winter conditions, unlike your typical stray domestic cat which we have tens of millions of. More people should own snakes so they don't react like Norris did. It's sad that in such an advanced and diverse country like the United States, people still harbor misguided fear and hatred of animals (and people) they don't understand. Someone who has had the joy of interacting with a pet snake would have acted in a much more calm, collected, and understanding manner. Situations like these are why more people should own snakes. Fortunately, with the way the reptile industry is booming, we may yet see a day where people learn more about these animals and how to interact with them instead of freaking out at the sight of one not in a cage.

Don't underestimate their survival

Reptiles will surprise you, and they are often capable of surviving temperature extremes that "should" kill them. Consider, too, that we haven't had a really frigid Winter, with a hard, weeks-long freeze in ten years. I fully agree that an equitorial snake likely wouldn't survive here, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. I know of one case where a man planned on tanning a large Western Diamondback, placed it in his freezer for several days, and was bitten when he thawed the snake and picked up the "dead" snake. Granted, a Western Diamondback is used to a greater temperature range than a mamba....but eyelash vipers routinely survive long refrigerated shipments of produce from Central America. I'm not sure I agree on snakes being ideal pets. They require far more knowledge and specialized care than a cat, dog, gerbil, or even fish. About 50,000 pythons and boas die every year because people over-feed them, over-heat them, under-heat them, or fail to recognize when the snake is having a health problem. Thousands more die when they are released by owners who no longer can, or want to care for them. I'm sure that you've seen the picture of the python killed when it tried to swallow too large an aligator in Florida. They are indeed beautiful animals, but they hardly qualify as domesticated, and just like big cats or any other wild animal, should be living unmolested in their native habitat.

Snakes in extreme temperatures

I actually saw the medical records and legal case history from the Crotalus atrox bite case you mentioned. The man was aware that the snakes were still alive, and they had been placed in the refrigerator, not the freezer. A snake at extremely cold but not freezing temperatures does not immediately die, but does become immobile. If it remains in this state for an extended period of time it will die. If an animal's tissues actually freeze, there is no recovery from that, as their cellular structure is severely damaged by the resulting crystallization. Unless an organism possesses special evolutionary adaptations to prevent massive cellular damage from ice crystals, which tropical species don't, if temperatures reach freezing, it's dead. Medical doctors face some of the same issues reviving hypothermic humans. Veterinarians used to use "cryo-anesthesia" routinely for reptile procedures in zoos until about twenty years ago, when it was demonstrated that reptiles in cold torpor were physically immobilized but fully sensate. Non tropical species can recover from cold torpor because it's already built into their physiology and the environment they evolved in. The tropical species, not so much. They simply haven't evolved to deal with the situation, because they never needed to. We spend quite a bit of time and money delicately maintaining tropical conditions inside our cages. It's absolutely crucial to our animals' health. If the power were to go out for any length of time, I guarantee my patient roster would be instantly full of seriously sick snakes. Documented in the veterinary literature (ARAV, ICE and NAVC proceedings) are a number of catastrophic veterinary emergencies in reptile collections triggered by a power outage in areas even more temperate than ours, such as North and Central Florida. Some resulted in the loss of the entire collection, or close to it, even with vet care and devoted nursing. I would not like to bet that I could save the life of a mamba whose cage conditions were set at Wilmington outdoor temperatures overnight. I might be able to if I were able to bring that animal back up to 85F+ immediately and put it on a course of prophylactic antibiotics, but it would definitely be touch and go. Go longer than 24 hours at extreme temperatures and we're talking about a critical patient with damage that may be irreversible. Without veterinary support care, it's a dead animal. Even with that care, I wouldn't give much for its chances. Unfortunately I really do have a tragic amount of experience working with venomous snakes that have suffered extreme temperatures during transport, since I used to offer free and sponsored vet care for them at the South Florida import facilities. It's really touch and go in those situations. I can save some of them with intensive support care, but serious damage is always done if a tropical snake is chilled to the core for any length of time. That doesn't take long at all, especially with the smaller species. The eyelash vipers surviving refrigerated transport? Technically alive at the end of the trip, but most likely dead snakes walking. I'd do my best to save them, but wouldn't be surprised if I failed. It does take a snake a lot longer to die of conditions that would be rapidly fatal to a mammal, and they can remain remarkably mobile and responsive to stimuli long after their vital body systems have been irreparably damaged and have ceased to function. Even a decapitated snake head is capable of envenomation, but don't expect it to have a long and productive life thereafter. So no, I find it hard to credit the notion that green mambas could invade Wilmington, even if we were inclined to let them. Which we certainly are not.

Snake Feeding Show

I was one of about fifty people at the enjoyable feeding show at the Serpentarium on Saturday. The green mamba was not one of the snakes fed in the show. There were a lot of tipsy people in there, though, over from the beer tents and wine tastings, and you could smell their breaths. I saw the green mamba and it was in its cage. It was tightly coiled, hidden on top of the light in the cage. My son showed me the green edge of one of its coils hanging down. Otherwise I would have missed it. When the panic started about a green snake on top of one of the cage- buildings, the Serpentarium keeper ushered us out. It was done very professionally, as a precaution, since nobody really knew what the green snake was, it was so dark in there you could hardly see it. After about 3 minutes they let us back in. They announced it was only a harmless green snake, probably from outside. Meanwhile, the green mamba was still in its place on top of the light exactly as it was before. It had not moved an inch. I was amused at how two evidently intoxicated people kept looking inside the cage unable to see the snake. My son told them exactly where it was, but they still couldn't see it! I guess you might say that alcohol and snakes don't mix! By the way, we love the serpentarium, and have been there dozens of times. Good news reporting, too. My son was thrilled to be part of a real news story!

What do they know?

If this couple thinks they can tell a rough green from a green mamba due solely to one snake being subjectively "fatter" than the other, then they're idiots. Besides, how could they ascertain the species just by seeing the snake (from the bottom) several feet over their heads? The local news should be ashamed for even reporting such a story.

The state needs to investigate the facility

An adult green mamba is roughly twice the length of a rough green snake and will have a thicker body if it has fed normally. Unless the mamba was a juvenile, it's difficult to confuse the two snakes. Let's face it - the spokeswoman for the Serpentarium would have been a LOT more convincing if she had appeared with the rough green snake in-hand when interviewed. The state needs to inspect this facility and ascertain if there is ANY chance of these non-native species escaping their enclosure. If this report is true, the Sepentarium needs to come clean and admit, "Yeah, we screwed up and this is what we're doing to make sure it never happens again." The simple fact is that if a snake can get out of its enclosure, it can certainly escape the building. We don't need a local environmental disaster. The Everglades National Park now has a thriving population of pythons and boas released by people when their "pet" got too big. Guam has seen its bird population nearly eliminated by brown tree snakes that hitched a ride in on cargo ships at the end of WW II. A Gaboon viper, native to Cenral Africa, was captured in a Chicago garage after it escaped from its owner. He had purchased it at a flea market! A few years ago, several snakes escaped from one of the many small, roadside zoos in Florida. One of them was a King Cobra, thankfully captured a short time later. It's only a matter of time before some careless collector (or careless keeper) allows a pregnant mamba or cobra to escape and we have a growing population somwhere in the Southeastern U.S. The importation of all non-native species need to be tightly regulated and controlled. If there's any truth to this story, the Sepentarium would do more good by admitting it and using it as a teaching tool, to discourage private ownership of these snakes. "If we professionals can make a mistake, so can you." (In addition to helping avert a potential eco-disaster, it might save one or two of the few dozen "collectors" who are bitten by their pet venomnous snake every year. Some bozo in Indianapolis nearly died when HIS green mamba bit him!)

Bzzzt! Sorry, thanks for playing...

I volunteer at a wildlifre refuge (caring for the snakes) and we get visitors all the time who miss the label on the 7 foot Green Mamba's cage and say "hey, that's one of the snakes we used to catch as kids". Of course, they are talking about Rough Green Snakes (the only bright green snake in the South, and very common). The average Joe can't tell a Cottonmouth from a Black Racer, but of course you can't convince them that there's any possibility they could be mistaken. They've never seen or heard of a banded water snake, but they know they've seen a BUNCH of Cottonmouths and never run across a fat dark colored snake that could have been anything else...

As a matter of fact....

Of course the state has inspected our facility. Our display cages are molded of a single piece of poured material, usually concrete, and it was obvious on inspection that there is no way out. I have responded to hundreds of emergency snake calls, many of which were initiated by police officers, people who are supposed to be able to observe and report factually even in "scary" situations. Snakes are consistently reported as "six foot long rattlesnakes". Sadly they always shrink to 2' or 3' and change their species by the time I arrive on the scene. I wish that I could actually catch the six foot long rattlesnakes that keep getting reported by terrified homeowners, but unfortunately it is pretty well inevitable that any report from a non-herpetologist involving snake length is not going to be accurate. Please feel free to verify this with anyone who does nuisance wildlife removal. Snakes are *always* six feet long when reported by scared people. If the snake the lady saw was six feet long and robust, it was neither our green mamba nor the green snake. The sole specimen of Eastern green mamba we have on exhibit is juvenile male who weighed about 200 grams on his last vet exam. He is nowhere near six feet long, and he's quite a slender little boy. The rough green was decently well grown for its species, but they don't get six feet long either. I was working in the back at the time of the incident. I had just finished vet care rounds and was on my way out. When the green snake was brought to me in the back, my first thought was concern for the frightened animal, and my second thought was that it was funny and sad at the same time that such gentle and delicate little creatures were hated and feared so much that they were seen as six foot long giants with fangs dripping venom. So many harmless snakes are brutally killed by people who feel that way that my sympathy is entirely on the snakes' side. A quick exam showed that the animal was in good body condition and not sick or injured, so I put it back in the wild where it belonged. Had I known that people were that terribly upset, I would have first pushed through the crowds to find the people in question and asked them to hold up a tape measure to the snake so they could see how big a "six foot long snake" really is when it is in the hands of a competent herpetologist and not in the eyes of a terrified ophidiphobe. However my job is animal care, and there was a stressed and frightened animal in my hands who needed my help to get back home. I did my job and cared for the animal's need first. It is unfortunately very much routine that people dump wild snakes at the Serpentarium whether we want them or not, though usually they have the courtesy of leaving them in a bag or a box. We refuse them and ask that they be put back in the wild where they belong, but some people decide to leave them anyway. Zoo Atlanta calls these "back-door donations". Ask any curator at any zoo in the world and they will tell you the same thing - kids (and adults who should know better) constantly bring in wild snakes with the idea that the zoo wants them. Sometimes they don't even bother asking first, or they don't respect it when they are told that the snakes need to be left alone in the wild. Packages get left and we have to deal with them as best we can. What I was guilty of is just not taking the situation terribly seriously. When you have a delicate little green snake in your hands that you were told that people were mistaking for a six foot Eastern green mamba, when you don't even HAVE a six foot Eastern green mamba, I'm afraid it's mostly rather funny. At this point I regret not keeping the evidence, but my concern at the time was for the comfort and welfare of the snake, not the fears of people who kill the poor little things for no worse crime than being "scary". I wish I had taken the educational opportunity.

Well, you've convinced me

It sounds like this is a non-issue. So I take it the next time I come across a copperhead in my backyard, you don't want me to leave it on your doorstep? (After I drop my idiot dog off at the vet with his head swollen to the size of a pumpkin) They're surprisingly long up here in the Northeastern corner of the county, but slimmer than they should be. I think all the development is chasing out prey and starving them.)

Please leave wild snakes wild

...if you can. We do recognize that if a copperhead or a timber rattlesnake pops up on your property where you have dogs and kids, it's not reasonable to expect people to be thrilled about it living there. In those cases we will help relocate the animal, or find space for it somehow if relocation is not feasible or if the snake is hurt and needs veterinary help. But the one thing we dread is people taking snakes out of the wild on purpose to bring to us because they think we want them. I will never turn away a snake that truly has no other options. I will move heaven and earth to find space for an animal in need if I absolutely have to. But I would really rather not have to. Yes, you can call us about the copperhead in your backyard, and we will help you find a safe and ecologically friendly solution for the problem. Actually you can call 911 as they dispatch emergency snake calls directly to my cell phone. Leaving a snake on our doorstep, or anywhere in our museum, is neither nice nor necessary!

I have a simple policy toward snakes

1. All non-venomous snakes are welcome and indeed encouraged on my property. 2. Venomous snakes off my property are never molested or harmed. (I have a location I have to visit in Columbus County, where I often encounter the same (?) average-size Eastern Diamondback sunning itself on a large, flat rock.) 3. Venomous snakes on my property immediately gain former snake status. So far the casualty rate for the past fourteen years is one water moccasin and three copperheads. If it was just me, I wouldn't care, but with cats and dogs running around, the snake has to be neutralized - immediately. There's no time to call anyone when the snake is surrounded by three or four animals and striking like crazy. That's what snakeshot is made for....

It's ridiculously easy to move a cottonmouth

The University of Florida has a nice pictorial guide showing how to move a cottonmouth without ever getting within three feet of it. The trick is that it's very difficult to get a snake to come toward you, but easy to make it move away, especially toward a hiding place. So offer it a nice dark "cave" to hide in (actually a trash can on its side), then walk around to the other side and annoy it gently with a broom or something. 19 times out of 20, it'll run straight into the can. Then you can pick it up and dump it out somewhere else. (If it didn't work, just try again.) It's less trouble, and frankly less risk, than finding a gun.

Any time I need a firearm...

...I can reach down to my hip. Of course, it's not loaded with snakeshot and the last time the dogs and cats were terrorizing a large coperhead, I had to use a 185 grain +P JHP. There was no time to go get the revolver I keep loaded with snakeshot.

Much safer than snakeshot

A shot snake can be a very dangerous snake even after it is fatally wounded or clinically dead, and isn't there some danger for your pets if you are shooting that close to them? A far safer way to instantly neutralize a snake in the middle of your other animals is the overturned trash can or bucket method. Safe techniques are illustrated here on my website, http://www.snakegetters.com/class/index.html

I''m usually carrying a firearm

I'm NOT carrying around a trash can or bucket. Rest assured that before I shoot the snakeshot, the animals are clear. I also lean in to make sure that the pattern is dense enough to obliterate the snake's head. You are correct about dead snakes being dangerous. I've had a copperhead turn and strike two hours after I shot it - but with no head, the worst I sustained was a blood smear on the back of my hand. Having attended both jungle and desert survival schools in the past, I'm well versed on catching snakes. (Unfortunately, I also had the DIS-pleasure of having to dine on them, and assure you that the man who said that snake tastes just like chicken has never been within ten miles of a chicken.) So yes, I COULD catch them and release them elsewhere....but in the case of a moccasin, or especially a copperhead, why run the risk of getting bitten, as remote as it may be? If it was a Timber Rattler, Eastern Diamondback, or Coral snake, I might give it more consideration. But for a copperhead or a cottonmouth...or even a pygmy rattler? It's simply not worth running ANY risk for an animal that's as common as they are. I value animals far more than I value people, but I have practical limits on what I will accept from an animal. For example, I gave up hunting many years ago, but when a large, old, sickly coyote started displaying predatory behavior several years ago, and started stalking me down a dry creek bed, you can rest assured that I dropped that coyote with no pangs of conscience whatsoever. The same applies to the raccoon that showed up dancing gleefully and doing backflips in my back yard around Ten O'Clock one morning a few years ago. Who knows if he was rabid or not? It wasn't worth the risk of ascertaining the cause for its odd behavior. Pit vipers and coral snakes are wonderful, beautiful animals, and I do all I can to leave them alone. They provide a valuable service in controlling rodent populations. When they threaten my dogs or cats, however, their wonder and beauty have to take a back seat to safety.

Uncle Reality, they're

Uncle Reality, they're difficult to confuse for someone who knows anything about snakes. But people freak out and say that the snake they saw was at least six feet long all the time. I generally assume at least a factor of two exaggeration, and I've seen more than three: reported as five feet long, the snake was actually just under 18 inches. I don't know why, but even unfrightened people seem to be amazingly bad at measuring snakes. I have heard countless good old boy stories about seeing six foot long diamondbacks while out hunting. I just not politely and don't say anything, but there hasn't been a confirmed six-foot diamondback seen in the wild in decades. They used to exist in the wild, but these days, with habitat destruction, ones five feet long are very rare. In this case, there was no escape to apologize for. The snake was not a mamba. The staff there caught it and identified it definitively. The reason it was outside a cage was that it was not one of their snakes and had never been in a cage! If you doubt this, ask any zoo you like about how many times per month they get unwanted "donations" from people abandoning animals on the grounds. It's annoying for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is you don't know what diseases it might have. As for species invasion, the Everglades is s special case, being pretty much the only truly tropical habitat in the U.S. N.C. weather is very different. If a mamba were to somehow get out of the building, it would die the first night the temperature dropped below 50; they are tropical African species and simply physically incapable of surviving in North Carolina. Most of the Serpentarium's collection is Central and South American species that could have walked into North America at any time in the last few million years; they're not present in the U.S. because they're not suited to the habitat. So even if they got out of their cages, and even if they got out of the building, and even if they got out of downtown Wilmington (not a lot of good habitat at Front & Orange; how many native snakes do you see?), they couldn't invade.

That Gaboon Viper couldn't survive in Chicago either...

...but it sure could have bitten one of the two kids who discovered it had they not been smart enough to stay away from it! If the story isn't true, fine. But when presenting your side of the story, always think on your feet. Stack the deck in your favor. Had the spokeswoman been holding the rough green snake during the interview, no one would have even bothered to post about it.

Hindsight is 20/20

Here's a reality view of what it's like being the curator of a reptile zoo and managing the health of a large collection. Every week, especially in the summer, we get snakes dumped on us whether we want them or not. Some we cannot release to the wild either because they need rehabilitation care or because they are exotic pets. We do not have the space to house and care for them all, even if we could just start keeping them in the same area as our zoo collection. Quarantine is an important principle in managing any animal collection. An animal that comes in from the outside cannot be kept anywhere near zoo animals, as they can carry parasites and diseases that may be harmless or dormant in them, but deadly to a different species. Even if we did want to keep wild snakes, which in most cases we most definitely do not, they must be quarantined for at least 90 days and preferably longer before they can be introduced to our collection. We have very limited quarantine facilities. Quarantine areas must be well separated from anywhere zoo animals are kept, ideally not even involving the same air flow. They should be vented to the outside. They are rather expensive to build and few zoos, even the largest, have more than a few quarantine rooms. When a wild snake is brought to a zoo, the person bringing it is generally asked to put it back in the wild immediately. We do not want the snake and we do not want to risk the health of our zoo animals. If they do not respect our wishes and leave a "back door donation" anyway, as any zoo will tell you is not uncommon, we put uninjured wild snakes right back in the wild where they belong as quickly as possible to avoid contamination in either direction. That is standard policy, not just at the Serpentarium, but at all zoos with health management and quarantine protocols. Those are hard line facts that are true for all zoos. If you do not believe they are accurate, please feel free to confirm them with any other zoo. I know it is wrong to make light of the fears of others, but when you get handed a 3' green snake that your fellow zookeeper says got mistaken for a 6' green mamba, it's a bit hard to take very seriously. I had no idea that the situation would be escalated quite this far. If anyone plays that sort of prank again, I will make quarantine space in my own bathroom if I have to (and I guarantee that I will have to since we really don't have the room) to keep hold of the evidence. I am sorry the woman was so frightened, and I am very unhappy with whoever thought it was a good idea to release a wild snake inside our museum. It scares our customers and is a potentially dangerous vector of disease to our animals. I don't know if it was the same "backdoor donation" we turned down earlier in the week, or an irresponsible prank during the Azalea Festival, but either way it didn't turn out to be very funny.

Thanks for taking care of the herps :)

Hey Tanith,

I'm glad to see you've made a real success of your knowledge and experience with snakes. The Serpentarium has a great asset in you.

I hope your love for our scaly friends never abates. It certainly affected me all those years ago.

Light and laughter,
Gareth "SongCoyote" Storm

Uncle Reality, they're

Uncle Reality, they're difficult to confuse for someone who knows anything about snakes. But people freak out and say that the snake they saw was at least six feet long all the time. I generally assume at least a factor of two exaggeration, and I've seen more than three: reported as five feet long, the snake was actually just under 18 inches. I get black racers reported as cottonmouths all the time. They're both dark and don't have legs, but that's about the only similarity. I couldn't mistake them from 50 yards in bad light, but I see other people do it all the time. (A black racer is long, really thin, and moves like a olympic slalom skier. A cottonmouth a.k.a. water moccasin is short, chunky, and moves like a bulldozer. If it moves at all.) I don't know why, but even unfrightened people seem to be amazingly bad at measuring snakes. I have heard countless good old boy stories about seeing six foot long diamondbacks while out hunting. I just not politely and don't say anything, but there hasn't been a confirmed six-foot diamondback seen in the wild in decades. They used to exist in the wild, but these days, with habitat destruction, ones five feet long are very rare. In this case, there was no escape to apologize for. The snake was not a mamba. The staff there caught it and identified it definitively. The reason it was outside a cage was that it was not one of their snakes and had never been in a cage! If you doubt this, ask any zoo you like about how many times per month they get unwanted "donations" from people abandoning animals on the grounds. It's annoying for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is you don't know what diseases it might have. As for species invasion, the Everglades is s special case, being pretty much the only truly tropical habitat in the U.S. N.C. weather is very different. If a mamba were to somehow get out of the building, it would die the first night the temperature dropped below 50; they are tropical African species and simply physically incapable of surviving in North Carolina. Most of the Serpentarium's collection is Central and South American species that could have walked into North America at any time in the last few million years; they're not present in the U.S. because they're not suited to the environment. So even if they got out of their cages, and even if they got out of the building, and even if they got out of downtown Wilmington (not a lot of good habitat at Front & Orange; how many native snakes do you see?), they couldn't invade.

scary

And just a coincidence that if you drink enough beer you get drunk?

Geesh

If they didn't like snakes.. They should not have gone to the snake zoo.... Just another frivilous couple looking for a frivilous law suit..AND.. reporting it to the news like babies..Geesh... get a life..