March 24 (UPI) -- Doctors in North Carolina said they used four vials of antivenin to treat a man who was bitten by his unusual pet: a deadly green mamba snake.
The University of North Carolina Rex Healthcare in Raleigh contacted the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C., after a man came in Sunday reporting that he was bitten by his pet green mamba, a venomous species native to Africa
Sean Foley, curator of herpetology at Riverbanks Zoo, said green mamba venom can be deadly.
"[If] you get bitten by a green mamba without antivenin, your chances of survival are very low," Foley told WRAL-TV. "It's a neurotoxic venom, so it's going to affect your breathing."
A cooler packed with 10 vials of antivenin was flown via helicopter to UNC Rex, where doctors used four vials to treat the man.
"We wanted to help get it there as quickly as possible to mitigate any symptoms," Foley said. "[With] some of these bites, there is a lot of pain involved, and you can have a lot of tissue destruction if you do not get these products to these people very quickly."
The man is expected to make a full recovery and is back at home with his snake, which is legal to be kept as a pet in North Carolina.
The Raleigh Police Department said its animal control unit is investigating the incident.
Foley said the incident highlights the dangers of keeping venomous pets.
"They are out there as pets. I don't know how common it is. It's not something I would ever want to have as a pet," he said. "They are not particularly aggressive, but they are really fast, and they can be difficult for an untrained person to work with. It's not something I would personally want to have at home, that's for sure."