Cable worker bitten by venomous green mamba snake in Hollywood

August 21st, 2009 by

HOLLYWOOD - The search is on for a venomous snake that bit a cable worker in Hollywood Thursday morning, officials said.

The worker, whose name was not released, was outside a small apartment building on the 2300 block of Taylor Street when he leaned against a small coconut tree and was bitten on the arm by a green mamba snake native to Africa.

“There’s not a shadow of a doubt that it was a green mamba,” said Capt. Ernie Jillson, who heads the Venom Response Unit in Miami-Dade County. Officials at first weren’t sure what kind of snake had bitten the man, who was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital and monitored for symptoms.

He was shown pictures of various snakes and picked out the green mamba, said Hollywood Fire Rescue Division Chief Mark Steele.

When the victim experienced numbness, tingling and drooping eyelids, among other symptoms of the neurotoxic venom, officials administered the antivenin, which reversed the effects, Jillson said.

Officials think the snake was illegally purchased off the Internet and either escaped or was released, said Jillson. For anyone other than a trained, licensed professional to even handle the snake is against the law, and no one in Florida has a license to own a green mamba.

The apartment building’s owner, Richard Konefal, said he led one animal control officer on a search of all nine units in the building, turning up no evidence that anyone there had been raising the snake.

No children live in the building.

Jillson said it’s highly improbable that more than one snake is on the loose; breeding the reptiles in captivity is difficult.

In captivity, green mambas live 10 to 12 years. In the wild, their lifespan is about six years, Jillson said. Based on the description — a three- to four- foot green snake with a yellowish underbelly — Jillson estimated the snake that bit the cable worker to be about 3 or 4 years old.

He said green mambas are aggressive and territorial, and this one is likely to stay in the lush backyard garden where the bite took place.

Anyone who sees the snake should not approach it, but should call the Venom Response Unit at 786-331-4443 or 4444, Jillson said.

One Response

  1. Jer

    Green Mambas are NOT aggressive snakes. They also don’t have a yellow underbelly. Either this article is giving a bad description, or this poor bastard is being treated for the wrong type of snake venom. Also read a couple other articles that stated there are in fact several people just in that area that are not only licensed, but do in fact own Green Mambas.

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