A five-year-old girl was bitten in the face by a venomous East African Snake at a Russian petting zoo.
Viktoria, 5, was visiting Butterflies Park petting zoo in the city of Yekaterinburg in the Russian region of Sverdlovsk Oblast with her family when she had an incident with one of the animals.
In a viral video filmed by one of Viktoria’s family, the child looks nervous as the snake was placed in her neck and a staff member can be seen moving their arm towards her.
The venomous snake can be seen curling around the kid’s neck before striking and the little girl is seen backing away in pain. It was only after she was bitten that a staff member removed the reptile.
According to reports, the snake is believed to be a hook-snouted rufous beaked snake from East Africa.
It is named for its hooked snout, which it uses to dig burrows, and for its reddish-brown back scales. It hunts small animals during the day with the help of its venomous bite.
Local media said Viktoria was taken to hospital after the snake bite while the petting zoo said it was the first time such an incident has ever taken place there.
Hospitalization was done as a safety measure, as the snake’s venom is mild and the bite no stronger than the prick of a syringe.
The footage was shared on the Russian social network VK on August 30 where it has been viewed over 45,000 times within a matter of hours.
“I went to pick up my wife and children, and they told me my daughter was bitten by a snake,” Vladimir, Viktoria’s father, told wire service East2West.“I asked to see proof that the snake was non-venomous, that it was safe.
We decided to call an ambulance and we took the girl to the Children’s City Clinical Hospital to be checked over.”
He was told by the staff that the snake “does not attack people at all” and it probably happened because Viktoria had touched chickens before and that the snake picked up the scent.
Meanwhile, zoo representatives have reportedly contacted the girl’s parents to settle the matter privately. Little Viktoria received a facial bandage because of the incident.
Viktoria had reportedly eaten a chicken dinner before handling the snake. She had also been playing with the petting zoo’s chicks before moving on to the reptiles.
East2West reports that Ekaterina Uvarova, a reptile expert has explained that “snakes are very sensitive to smell. If it was hungry and the girl smelled of prey like chicks, this might provoke the snake to bite her.”
Ekaterina is calling for petting zoos to be banned, and believes that the girl may also have been bitten- because of “the excessive attention of people”.
“An animal that is being touched all the time, which has nowhere to hide and rest, and is in constant stress is never good,” she added.
The petting zoo said that it was the first time such an incident has taken place, confirming that visitors are allowed to handle snakes there in accordance with the law.
However, they added that they will stop snake-handling activities in the future to prevent a similar situation from taking place in the future.
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