I'm tired of these Holly Jolly snakes in this Holly Jolly tree!

A venomous snake was an unwelcomed guest during one family's Christmas festivities, and no, I am not making a reference to a particular family member. The Poughkeepsie Journal shared a USA Today video of a family in South Africa realizing they were housing one of the world's most venomous snakes in their Christmas tree. The family discovered a boomslang snake slithering through their evergreen.

"I Googled what snakes are in our area and it came up immediately as a boomslang, I thought 'holy Moses, this is the king of all poisonous snakes," Rob Wild, homeowner

According to Britannica, the boomslang is a moderately slender snake that can grow around 6 feet in length. Don't worry, they are not native to New York; these snakes are common in savannas throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Its body and eye color are extremely variable, and camouflage is excellent. In defense, the boomslang inflates the neck, showing the dark skin between the scales. This is a sign that it may strike. The venom causes hemorrhages and can be fatal to humans in small amounts.

The family called a snake catcher, who apprehended the unwanted visitor with ease.

Fortunately, for us, the chances of ever finding a boomslang in New York are slim to none. According to Teatown, New York has 17 native species of snakes. The most common snakes are the Eastern garter snake, Northern black rat snake, and the Northern water snake. Each one of those snakes is non-venomous and harmless to humans. In regards to venomous snakes found in the Hudson Valley, the Northern copperhead and Timber rattlesnake are typically non-aggressive, but beware, for they will strike if they feel threatened. I have come across a few copperheads over the years and fortunately have had no issues.

I know that the tradition is that you get coal when you've been naughty all year, but I think placing a venomous snake in the tree is sending a real big message to shape up! Perhaps if someone did that to Ebenezer Scrooge, they may not have needed to spend a whole night sending several ghosts. I know I would be scared straight if I noticed something slithering around my tree.



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