Residents of a Mount Pleasant apartment complex were on edge Friday, after learning a deadly snake may have been prowling near the area, and a local expert talked to FOX Carolina about snake safety for pet owners who handle serpents.
It was unclear Friday how the snake came to be in the area. Mount Pleasant Police said the deadly Gaboon Viper, native to Africa, may be someone's pet, or it may have come out of the cargo port near the apartments, which sit near the Cooper River Bridge.
A local snake expert said the Gaboon Viper is one of the most deadly serpents there is.
"After a bite from a 'boon' you got at least 20 to 30 minutes before you're gonna get locked up- your body actually seizes," said Shane Aznoe, who works at Saluda River Pet Food Supply in Simpsonville. "It shuts down your body."
His store only sells non-venomous snakes, but he said no matter what kind of reptile you own, safety should come first.
"You want to make sure you have what you call clip strips. A lot of people don't use them," he said. "I can't tell you how often I hear stories of snakes getting out of cages from not having clip strips."
State laws about keeping venomous snakes as pets vary.
For example, in Greenville Co., a permit is required. In Spartanburg Co., keeping venomous reptiles is illegal.
While it was unclear Friday if the Gaboon Viper belonged to a resident at the Harbor Pointe apartment complex in Mount Pleasant, police there said if it was a pet, the owner would be in serious trouble according to the laws of that county.
Aznoe said no matter what type of snake you handle as a pet owner, education is key.
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