A South African family discovered a dangerous snake lurking inside their Christmas tree while decorating for the holiday.
“We’d just decorated the tree and the kids were putting the presents beneath it before turning the lights on,” Rob Wild told The Mirror in a piece published Monday.
“Marcela went to have a look and moved a bauble and saw a snake’s head staring straight back at her,” he added.
Wild, after searching Google to help identify the creature, speculates it was a Boomslang — “one of the most dangerous snakes in the world,” the outlet added.
The boomslang snake was hiding in a family’s Christmas tree in the Western Cape, South Africa. https://t.co/ApKJnuhjYB
— CNN International (@cnni) December 14, 2021
Boomslangs are “largely tree-living,” and typically pose no threat to humans in their natural habitat since their bites are so rare, The African Snakebite Institute says.
The Institute adds that their bites are malevolent; their venom induces a blood coagulation mechanism that can only be treated with a special antivenom.
Left untreated, the Boomslang’s bites are fatal.
The Hertfordshire-based couple had decorated the tree with their 11-year-old son Edward and their 6-year-old daughter Sahara just moments before, The Independent reported.
The family contacted wild snake catcher Gerrie Heyns to remove the snake from their home. (RELATED: Snake Catcher Finds Two Meter Jungle Python In Toilet).
“It wasn’t an easy catch as it was very nippy and it kept going up and down and round and round the tree and I was trying not to upset the decorations or lights,” Heyns said, according to The Mirror’s report.
“They won’t attack unless they feel extremely threatened and only to defend themselves and I suspect this one slipped into the house to get shade,” he added.