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Deadly Snake On The Loose!

Deadly Snake On The Loose!

Staff at a zoo in South Africa are watching their step after a highly dangerous snake escaped from its enclosure.

Pretoria Zoo's black mamba - one of the fastest and most venomous snakes in the world - is believed to be hiding somewhere in the zoo grounds after it was reported missing over a week ago.

Now, desperate staff at the zoo in South Africa's capital are using infra-red cameras in a bid to find the six-and-a-half foot (two metre) missing reptile - before it finds one of them.

Deadly Snake On The Loose!

Marketing manager Craig Allenby said he hoped the snake was hiding in the roof of a service building behind its terrarium.

Staff have placed snacks of rats, mice and chicks in the service area in a bid to tempt the snake out, but it has yet to bite.

Mr Allenby's team is using cameras which can pick up radiation emitted by bodies and even objects as cold-blooded as killer snakes.

Another theory is that the snake may have been stolen.  Zoo staff say there is a trade for indigenous reptiles such as Houdini, as they have named the missing mamba.

However despite the uncertainty over the snake's whereabouts, a Friday night zoo tour and sleepover at the attraction are still going to go ahead - albeit at a distance from the snake enclosure, and with guards on hand.

Mr Allenby told Sowetan Live: 'We would like to assure the public of our utmost commitment to resolving this issue as quickly as possible.

'There is no additional threat to the public.'

The Easter Egg hunts planned for Easter weekend will also go ahead.  Hundreds of children are expected to flock to the zoo to hunt for 20,000 chocolate eggs.

Bites from the black mamba nearly always result in the victim's death.

Black mambas are known as Africa's most feared snakes, and with good reason.  Just two drops of their venom can kill a human, and they have up to 20 drops in their fangs.

The venom contains a fast-acting neurotoxin that paralyses and kills it prey.  Such is its strength, black mambas can kill a lion with just one bite.

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