When it comes to exotic pets such as such as snakes, tarantulas and scorpions, buyers rely on the sellers for accurate information about an animal's condition. If sellers fail to provide current and thorough information, they could put buyers at serious risk for animal attacks.
Last weekend, a 25-year-old New Jersey man purchased an albino monacled cobra, an eastern diamondback rattlesnake and a copperhead snake in Pennsylvania. He already had other exotic pets in his home, including a tarantula, a scorpion and a rabbit. The man was told that the snakes' venom sacks were removed, but unfortunately, that turned out not to be the case.
On Monday, the cobra bit him. A few hours after the bite, the man began having trouble breathing, and his wife called 911. It was then they realized that the snake's venom sack had not been removed. The man was taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson for injury treatment. He was later transferred to Jacoby Hospital in the Bronx, which has a specialized snakebite unit.
The monocle cobra's venom consists primarily of neurotoxic compounds that generally attack the nervous system and cause pain, blurred vision, drowsiness and paralysis. If the person bitten by the snake does not receive antivenin treatments within a short period of time, he or she may suffer a coma or even death from cardiovascular and respiratory failure.
Officials from the New Jersey State Department of Fish and Wildlife removed the poisonous snakes from the home and will be storing them until Feb. 7, when the snakes will be brought to an out-of-state facility.
The animal attack is currently under investigation by the local police.
Source: northjersey.com, "Resident in serious condition after cobra bite," Justin Zaremba, 1 Feb. 2011