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Snake expert urges caution over reptiles' home invasions

By Wei Na ( )

09:08, October 29, 2012

Snakes have invaded the homes of several residents in Dongcheng and Fengtai districts recently.

Firefighters have cautioned that if anyone discovers a suspicious serpent at home, they should keep calm and immediately call animal control authorities or other departments to capture the reptile.

"We were called to a residence on Shatushan Houjie [in] Dongcheng district Friday night, and we saw a 1.5-meter speckled snake slithering on the kitchen door," said Zhang Jipeng, a firefighter from the Huashi brigade of Dongcheng firefighting department.

Zhang said the snake was identified as a viper and captured by a firefighter in the squad who was "experienced in capturing reptiles."

"The family was startled, but luckily nobody was attacked," said Zhang.

Zhang said the sighting of the viper in a residence was a very rare case, the first his squad was aware of over the past few months. The viper was released near a river on the East Second Ring Road.

However, another black-and-white viper 50 centimeters in length was found in a home in Jugaolou village in Fengtai district on October 21, reported the Beijing Times on October 23.

The West Railway Station firefighting department identified it as poisonous and the reptile was lured into a bag by a firefighter wearing a safety mask. The viper was set free later, according to the report.

Another over one-meter-long poisonous reptile was also spotted in the Shuangmiao area, Fengtai district, in a house on September 6, reported the Beijing Evening News.

"I don't think the locals should be on high alert just because there have been a couple of snakes spotted in Beijing," said Zhan Guobin, a local snake owner who owns a store in Haidian district in which he uses snakes to "massage" his clients.

The snakes are probably just looking for a warm place to stay as the weather cools, said Zhan.

"But I do advise people to avoid any close contact and call the police for help, no matter whether they are venomous or non-venomous, because the snake will attack for fear the human will attack them by approaching," said Zhan.

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