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East African Green Mamba

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A North Carolina man is recovering after suffering a bite from his highly-venomous pet snake. This was all thanks to a zoo 250 miles away that rushed antivenom medicine to a hospital.

The Raleigh resident was bitten by a green mamba snake at his home on Sunday, The News & Observer reported. The reptile is normally non-threatening, but when provoked, its bite can be one of the most deadly in the animal kingdom.

“If you get bitten by a green mamba without antivenin, your chances of survival are very low,” Sean Foley, curator of herpetology at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina. “It’s a neurotoxic venom, so it’s going to affect your breathing.”

Foley said he received a call on Sunday from North Carolina Poison Control, requesting 10 vials of antivenom and they acted quickly, The News & Observer reported.

Foley and his staff at Riverbanks Zoo packed a cooler with the vials and drove it to the nearby Lexington Medical Center, which then transported the shipment via medivac to Raleigh.

“We wanted to help get it there as quickly as possible to mitigate any symptoms,” Foley told WRAL-TV. “Some of these bites, there is a lot of pain involved, and you can have a lot of tissue destruction if you do not get these products to these people very quickly.”

Raleigh PD’s animal control officers responded to a call from the hospital about the bite, spokesperson Donna-Maria Harris told The News & Observer. No investigation has been opened because no laws were broken.

North Carolina law requires “venomous snakes to be housed in a sturdy enclosure with a lock,” but there are no restrictions on owning one in the state.