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Dhaka Tribune

Deadly Russell viper rescued in Chandpur

The snake was handed over to representatives from the Chittagong Medical College Venom Research Centre

Update : 20 Aug 2019, 11:48 PM

Russell viper, a rare species of venomous snake, was rescued from a pond in Koralia of the Chandpur municipality area on Sunday.

The snake was handed over to representatives from the Chittagong Medical College Venom Research Centre, in the presence officials of district forest department and district administration in the afternoon. 

Sabuj Bepari, a local who caught the snake, said: " Earlier, I had another encounter with a Russell viper; I killed it as it was coming to attack me. When I spotted this one on top of some water hyacinth, I carefully trapped it and brought it home with me. Later, when locals took photos of it and posted it online, it caught the attention of the Chittagong Medical College Venom Research team."

Mizanur Rahman, assistant researcher of the team, said: "The snake is extremely venomous and is commonly found in some Asian countries including India, China, Thailand. The existence of this species was found in the northern part of the country, however this the first time it is spotted in Chandpur." 

Once bitten by a Russell viper, the venom quickly circulates throughout the body and paralyzes the heart. From 2013 to 2017, at least 20 people were killed after being bitten by this snake, he added.

Russell vipers live both on land and in water. It usually eats frogs, crabs, and fishes; but on land it eats chicken, rats, and Mongoose. It is grey in colour with black spots. It distinguishes itself  from other typical snakes as it does not lay eggs but gives birth; they can give birth to up to 80 offspring, he also added.

Zohra Mila, a forest department official said: "The Russell viper is on the list of endangered animals. The snake is infamously called the 'Killing Machine' for its ferocious speed and deadly venom."

It is considered one of the most deadliest among venomous snakes, as it can successfully transfer its venom to its victim in one sixteenth of a second, she added.

Emran Hossain Shojib, assistant commissioner (land), from the district administration, said: "We suspect that the snake travelled  down the Meghna River from the north."

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