Herper.com: Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and Amphibians in the News

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Naming Rights

A 10-year old New Jersey girl won a contest to name a new species of gecko from New Caledonia. (News source.)

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Rattler Bite

A 5-year old Texas boy was bitten by a rattlesnake as he pushed a younger friend away from the snake. (News source.)

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Galapagos: New Threat

An active volcano on Isabela Island is threatening giant tortoises on that area. (News source.)

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FL: Big Snake

A large "black" snake was spotted eating a crane along Bear Creek River (Tampa area), Florida. A wildlife trapper called to the scene wasn't able to find it, but suggested it was a Burmese python or a green anaconda that had darkened as it aged. (News source.)

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Owls Keep Snakes

A columnist here notes the phenomenon of screech owls keeping live blind snakes in their nests...

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Alberta Leopard Frogs

Reintroduction of leopard frog eggs to certain parts of Alberta, is undertaken in hopes of shoring up the declining populations. (News source.)

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two New Books

Georgia herpetologists have published two new books of interest:

Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia (University of Georgia Press)
Turtles of the Southeast (University of Georgia Press)

(News source.)

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Fighting Egg Smuggling

Malaysian Customs in Sabah are increasing efforts to fight sea turtle egg smugglers. 1,500 eggs were confiscated this month. (News source.)

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Worst-Case Scenario

A tourist in Australia stops at the side of the road, and ended up with a snake-bite in the worst place possible. Fortunately, he wasn't envenomated. (News source.)

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Florida Gator Hunting

Here is a column on gator hunting in Florida, as the upcoming season's permits come available soon.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Missouri Gator Capture

A small alligator was found and captured in a Leavenworth creek. (News source.)

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More Snakebites

No details given, but an Oklahoma hospital has treated their first snakebite of the season. (News source.)

A Virginia man was treated for a rattlesnake bite. (News source.)

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Clawed Frog

"'Amphibian horror' isn't a movie genre, but on this evidence perhaps it should be. Harvard biologists have described a bizarre, hairy frog with cat-like extendable claws.
"Trichobatrachus robustus
actively breaks its own bones to produce claws that puncture their way out of the frog's toe pads, probably when it is threatened."

Details at New Scientist.

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OOP Croc in Germany

Berlin city workers spotted a 2 1/2 foot crocodilian in the Innerste River. One of the employees was a reptile enthusiast, so the i.d. isn't doubted. (News source.)

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Gatorland Revamped

Gatorland has unveiled a new park, after 18 months following a fire. (News source.)

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Snakebite News

A UK reptile enthusiast was bitten by a death adder at a specialty reptile shop. After he was released from the hospital, he decided to keep the snake. (News source.)

A 12-year old North Carolina girl was treated for a copperhead bite on her ankle. (News source.)

A 3-year old Florida boy was treated for a pygmy rattlesnake bite. (News source.)

Details are pending, but a North Carolina woman may have died due to a rattlesnake bite this past Memorial Day. (News source.)

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Natterjack Funding

Improvement funding is coming for several sites in Cumbria (UK) that are home to the rare natterjack toad. (News source.)

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rattlesnake Bites Getting Worse?

Five people have died from extreme symptoms in rattlesnake bites in Arizona since 2002, prompting toxicological investigation. (News source.)

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Aftermath of a Snakebite

A year after a young girl was bitten by a copperhead, her family is still struggling to pay off the bills. (News source.)

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Croc vs Shark

A 9-foot saltwater crocodile was photographed eating a smaller shark. (News source.)

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Snake Farming for Food

Snake restaurants are growing in Vietnam, and snake farms are cropping up to meet the demand. (News source.)

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Toad Venom Drug Kills

A New York man died after ingesting a toad-toxin based "aphrodisiac."
Toads don't kill people; stupidity kills people. (
News source.)

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Tortoise Smugglers Caught

Five tortoise smugglers were captured in a police raid in Uttar Pradesh, India. (News source.)

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Gator Attack

A 6-foot gator bit a man's hand at Lake Trafford, near Naples, when the man was wading in the water. (News source.)

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More on NC Cobra Panic

A woman claims to have seen one of the alleged roaming cobras, but a search by a reptile group comes up empty. (News source.)

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cobras Loose in NC?

A flyer that states that two monocled cobras are loose in Onslow Co., NC, has local law enforcement on edge. There is speculation that the flyers are being posted by an animal-rights group that is trying to push a ban on exotic species in that state. (In which case, there may not be any loose cobras at all...) (News source.)

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Silvery Salamanders

Some info here on the strange genetic history of the silvery salamander in Illinois.

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New Gecko Family

Based on genetic sequencing (rather than the standard foot morphology), researchers have created a new family of geckos. (News source.)

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gator Bites Teen

One of two Vernon, Florida, teens who tried to move a 4-foot gator from a yard was bitten. The other teen stabbed the alligator until it released. The animal was euthanized due to the injuries. (News source.)

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Retic Found in Florida

An OOP 8-foot reticulated python was found in St. Augustine. (News source.)

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A 9-year old Spotsylvania Co., Virginia, girl was bitten by a copperhead. (News source.)

A 2-year old Australian boy was bitten by a red-bellied blacksnake. (News source.)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Snakebite in Palestine

A 30-year old woman in Jenin, in the West Bank, was bitten by a viper, resulting in bleeding from different parts of her body. She was found in a field, then rushed to an Israeli hospital, and treated. (News source.)

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Gecko Smuggling Attempt

Australian officials confiscated a package of geckos that was being sent to the Czech Republic. (News source.)

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Update on Man Found Dead in Canal

The Polk County, FL, discovery of a man in a canal was not an alligator attack. The autopsy confirmed the man drowned, and the alligator only ate parts after the man was dead. (News source.)

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Frogs Shake Chinese

Another frog/toad "march" is upsetting thousands of Chinese who think it may be a warning that another earthquake is coming. (News source.)

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NC "Cobra" Sighting

A North Carolina man reported an 8-foot snake that reared up beside him while he was on an ATV in Cumberland County. A wildlife rehabber suggests it was a king cobra. Police are checking it out. Not enough of a description is given for me to determine whether or not the identification matches, but I'd say it's a bit iffy. (News source.)

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Careful of Snakes in Taiwan

A brief article here on snakebites in Taiwan.

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Kids Kill Tortoises

South African police caught 4 children who killed several leopard tortoises, and made them bury the reptiles. (News source.)

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Reproductive Plasticity

Here is a study on a neotropical treefrog that can lay its eggs in water or on land...

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Snakebite Tragedy

A Virginia woman died from an apparent snakebite, after a rapid and severe reaction to the bite. The snake was not found, but may have been a copperhead. (News source.)

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Three "Caiman" in Brooklyn

A jogger turned in three small crocodilians he said he found in Spring Creek Park. The Animal Care and Control Shelter was suspicious, but took them in. And, they misidentified them as caiman: the photo clearly show three juvenile American alligators. (News source.)

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Slaty Grey

Here's a profile on a slaty grey snake, found on Thursday Island, Australia.


Turtle Rescuing is Hazardous

A Baltimore, Maryland, man who has been rescuing box turtles from roads for decades has been busted by DNR. (News source.)

A woman who rescued a nesting sea turtle from two poachers on St. Maarten was attacked and seriously injured by the two men later. (News source.)

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Researcher Profile

A venom researcher is profiled for his work in Papua New Guinea, here.

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Newt Fiasco

The great crested newt is protected in the UK, and the Leicestershire Council spent 1 million pounds protecting them in ponds near a major road construction. Turns out, though, that the newts in the ponds are common newts, not the protected species. (News source.)

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Venomous Snake Ban

Looks like Arlington, VA, has instituted a venomous snake ban. (News source.)

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Possible Gator Attack

A dead man was found floating in a Polk Co., FL, canal, with a gator nearby. No details yet on whether the gator was involved or not. (News source.)

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Border Patrol Rattler Bite

A border patrol agent in the Huachuca Mountains (Arizona) was airlifted out after being bitten by a rattlesnake. (News source.)

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The Fitzsimons Snake Park in Durbin, South Africa, has to find a new home. (News source.)

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Gator Poaching Videotaped

A Florida man and teenager were videotaped illegally capturing a 7-foot gator by a passer-by. Police caught up with them, and the gator relocated. (News source.)

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Gator vs Deputy

A Volusia County, FL, sheriff's deputy attempted to round up a stray 8-foot alligator, and ended up getting bit on the leg. Another deputy shot at it a few times and managed to get the leg free, and a trapper eventually arrived to restrain and shoot the animal. (News source.)

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Manitoba Garter Gallery

Here is a photogallery of the annual garter snake mating groups up in Manitoba.

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Python Snatches Zoo Deer

An Indian python snuck into the deer enclosure at Sree Venkateshwara Zoological Park in Tirupati, India, captured, and ate a young deer. Story and photos here.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Komodo Coming

St. Augustine Alligator Farm is building a new exhibit for a Komodo Dragon. (News source.)

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Scorpions in the UAE

Not herps, but still interesting, an article on scorpions in the UAE.


Viprinex Trials

Two Milwaukee area hospitals are testing the new drug Viprinex, made from Malayan pit viper venom, for stroke treatment. (News source.)

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Albino Frogs (Almost)

Albino tadpoles have been reported from a pond in Wales. (News source.)

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Pig-Frog Leg Alert

Don't eat pig-frog legs from the Everglades region, the state says, due to elevated mercury levels. (News source.)

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Vietnam Smuggling

Vietnam officials intercepted a ton of live monitor lizards headed for China. (News source.)

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OOP Crocodilian?

A small crocodilian was reported from Lake Hickory, NC. Gators aren't known from that part of the state, so it may be a released pet, possibly a caiman. (News source.)

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Snake Bite Death

A fisherman in Kerala, India, was bitten by a snake that he accidentally caught in a net and died before he could get to help. Species is not given. (News source.)

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Download Free Ebooks

I've set up free downloadable (and printable) copies of my early printed versions of Herper's Life List and Herper's Survey. Basic materials (nothing fancy) in PDF that you can print out and use after field herping...


Traffic Reporter Bitten

A California traffic reporter was bitten by a rattlesnake. No details given on how that happened... (News source.)

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India: Croc Attack

A teenage boy was snatched at the Madhuvanti dam while on a picnic. The crocodile grabbed him when the boy jumped into the water after a ball. (News source.)

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Tuatara Problem

Turns out older tuataras will eat hatchlings... (News source.)

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Yet Another Coral Snake Bite

A Florida man shooed his kids away from a snake, and it bit him when he picked it up. It was a coral snake, and he was hospitalized in severe condition. (News source.)

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Snake Study

Missouri biologists are studying the mobility and movement of snakes, particularly their seasonal migration across roads, to try and reduce roadkill. (News source.)

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Illinois Chorus Frogs

The search is on for overlooked populations of the rare Illinois chorus frog... (News source.)

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Brown Snake Bite

An Australian 2-year old child was bitten by a brown snake near Sydney. (News source.)

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Canary Island Kings

Someone eventually will bring back a pair of these California kings and start marketing juvies with the new locality data... The introduced species continues to thrive in Gran Canaria. (News source.)

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Kenya Snake Thief

Someone stole seven vipers and cobras from a small snake-park in the Rift Valley. (News source.)

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Ultrasonic Frogs

The female concave-eared torrent frog, Odorrana tormota, uses ultrasonic chirps to attract males over the sounds of rushing water and waterfalls in central China. (Eurekalert.)

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gharial Breeding

The Prague Zoo is starting a breeding program for gharial, the first in Europe. (News source.)

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Long Island Herp Survey

One of the highlights of a recent survey of reptiles/amphibians on Long Island NPS sites was an eastern box turtle that had the carved initials (on its plastron) of a naturalist from 90 years ago. (News source.)

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Power Outage

20,000 South Florida homes lost power after an iguana got fried by high-voltage equipment. (News source.)


India: Snake Rescuer

Here is a short piece by a wildlife consultant in Goa, India, who rescues snakes.

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Myanmar Disaster: Snakes Now a Problem

Increased interaction between survivors and venomous snakes are a greater problem with a shortage of shelter after the Myanmar cyclone. (News source.)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Solomon Islands Croc Attack

A man was killed by a crocodile while fishing along the Matepona River. (News source.)

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Big Snapper

An 87-lb snapping turtle was caught in a North Carolina pond. (News source.)


Iguana Crime

Six endangered blue iguanas were killed at a captive-breeding center in the Cayman Islands. The animals were stomped and mutilated, and police are investigating. (News source.)

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Toads to Fight Toads

Another strategy for fighting cane toads in Australia: release small sterile male cane toads in areas without infestation to "teach" local predators that they're not suitable prey. (News source.)

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Frog Farming (1978)

Here is an old article from Mother Earth News on farming bullfrogs.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gharials Nesting

Gharial nests have been found in Chambal's sanctuary, so there's (some) hope for the species... (News source.)

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Big Snake

A 21-foot (approximate) python was found in Sri Lanka, relocated to a forest preserve. (News source.)

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EDB Bite

A co-owner of the Edisto Island Serpentarium was bitten by an eastern diamondback while snake hunting on the Georgia coast. (News source.)

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Hawaii: Ball Python

A ball python was found hit by a car in Hawaii; officials euthanized the snake. (News source.)

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Cat in a Snake

An Australian family's pet cat was eaten by a 2-meter python. X-rays proved it. (News source.)

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Oklahoma Ban

Oklahoma has put in place a 3-year moratorium on commercial turtle harvesting in order to study the effect on their native turtles. (News source.)

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Croc Attacks

The recent Palawan crocodile attack has prompted calls to curb the illegal mangrove tanbarking trade, which some say contributes to greater croc-human interaction. (News source.)

Two people were recently attacked and injured by crocodiles in Orissa, India. (News source.)

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Woman Helps Cobra

A woman in India found a wounded cobra, and treated it (antiseptic creams and feeding syringes of milk) despite neighbors requesting she put it back where she found it. (News source.)

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Whiptail Profile

A nature columnist in Colorado ponders the whiptail lizard. (News source.)


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Croc Farming

Zimbabwe is encouraging farmers to raise crocodiles commercially. (News source.)

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Lizard Saved From Fish

A fisherman in Australia caught a fish which regurgitated its last meal, a small skink. Though the tail was partially digested, the lizard resuscitated and went on its way. (News source.)


Friday, May 2, 2008

Toy Kills Gator

A 9-foot gator in the Florida Keys died after eating a plastic toy turtle, which lodged in its digestive tract. (News source.)

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Sea Turtle News

First, an update from Texas: 10 more Kemp's ridley sea turtle nests have been found. (News source.)

And Anna Maria Island (Florida) is gearing up for nesting season. (News source.)

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Philippines Croc Attack

A 7-year old boy was killed by a crocodile in Palawan, while he was swimming in a river. (News source.)

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Croc Ad Upsets UK Parents

Some parents in the UK are upset about the use of a crocodile in a television ad for a soft drink. (News source.)

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New Gecko

A new species is being described in the news as the largest gecko yet found in India, at 250 mm. (I'm a bit leery of this claim; the Tokay gecko, for example, is found in northern India, and can surpass that length in at least parts of its wide range.) The new species has been named Hemidactylus aaronbaueri, after lizard expert Dr. Aaron Bauer of Villanova. (Dr. Bauer, of course, should be a familiar name, as he has written on the cryptozoological giant gecko and other unusual cases.) The lizard was first photographed two years ago, and the photos forwarded to the Bombay Natural History Society for identification, where they realized it was a new species. Since then, about 20 more have been found on rocky cliffs in north west Ghats. (News source.)

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Antivenom Rushed to Cobra Victim

More details have been published on the Bushnell, FL, case of a pet cobra bite. The victim is still unconscious, though. (News source.)

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