‘Snakes on a plane’: deadly serpent found by Dubai airport staff

Pest control officers found the highly venomous African puff adder in amongst cargo imported into the UAE by plane

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Airport workers in Dubai have found a real life - and highly poisonous - snake on a plane, according to UAE daily 7 Days.

The African puff adder, which is said to be one of Africa’s deadliest, was found inside a plane by pest controllers during a routine inspection, the report added.

Senior public health pest control officer Ruba Zayed Taha told the newspaper: “The snake was found inside the flight with goods and we are lucky to have found it, as it is a poisonous, deadly snake. Had we not found this snake, someone might have been killed.

According to the report, this variety of snake is found across Africa and is responsible for the most amount of snake bite deaths on the continent.

But according to Dr Reza Khan, wildlife and zoo management specialist in the Public Parks and Horticulture Department of Dubai Municipality, the find could have had a much worse outcome if the snake had bitten someone.

She told UAE daily Gulf News: “If bitten, the inevitable result is death as we do not have anti-venom for this viper snake in this part of the world.”

Research has found that this is the first time this species of snake has been found in a shipment in Dubai’s ports.

This species of snake is said to grow between 40cm and 80cm and have quite a thick set body. Yet despite its size, experts say this predator has lightning-fast reflexes when attacking its prey.

The snake was found during a routine inspection by Dubai’s pest control department, which looks out for unwanted creatures that have hitched a lift from far away places.

The snake is not the first uninvited animal to enter the UAE - because of the country’s largely transient population, there have been cases of plants and animals being brought in, including the red back spider which are found in some residential areas.