The Gaboon Viper snake is a popular attraction at the Philadelphia Zoo's reptile house. It's one of the 10 most venomous snakes alive. But yesterday, a police officer spotted two vipers and two other poisonous snakes in a Claymont, Delaware man's apartment when responding to a domestic dispute call there.
Poisonous snakes are not permitted in Delaware. So, authorities confiscated the vipers, a Venezuelan rattlesnake and a Pygmy Rattlesnake, and then euthanized them.
Police arrested snake owner 23-year-old Anthony Conway and charged him with domestic violence for allegedly pushing his girlfriend and cited him for having the snakes with no permit.
Reptile specialists say the West African Gaboon Vipers can grow to be 6 feet long and 25 pounds. While the deadly snake's venom is usually spared to secure their prey, the otherwise passive snakes will strike if they feel threatened.
Jason Bell from the Philadelphia Zoo tells us, "They actually, because of their large size, they are considered lethal - can be lethal. Can by sheer size and amount of venom that they can eject when they bite a victim."
Delaware is not alone in its stand on poisonous reptiles. Venomous snakes are also illegal as pets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. While they are legally bred in captivity in some states, it's not clear where the snakes found yesterday came from.