Small children arrived at a kindergarten in the upscale Bavli neighborhood of northern Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning as usual. It was only hours later, around 2 p.m., that they discovered a surprise visitor - a poisonous viper snake.
The lethal snake was found leisurely loitering in the kindergarten's playground, an area where the children were playing oblivious to the lurking danger.
"In the afternoon I got a call from an hysteric and shocked kindergarten teacher, who told me she saw in the kindergarten's playground an unidentified snake, colored black and gold," snake trapper Ofir Cohen of "Eli Cohen Pesticides" told Walla!.
Cohen arrived at the kindergarten, where he identified the snake as a viper, capable in certain instances of causing death with its lethal venom. The danger posed by the poison is generally considered much higher for small children.
"After a brief search we found the snake lying right next to the children's games. We were able to control it quickly," noted Cohen, adding relievedly "it could have ended differently."
Cohen said that based on the teacher's reports, the Tel Aviv Municipality was negligent in handling the affair by telling her to search for the snake herself and not giving her proper aid.
"The shocked kindergarten teacher told me that she tried to search for it herself in the bushes, and it could easily have jumped on her. Luckily nothing happened to her," relayed Cohen.
The trapper noted that in conclusion "a search on site was conducted to find other snakes or eggs, but from our search nothing was found; we're staying in touch with the kindergarten."
Poisonous snakes on the move
A similar case two weeks ago ended slightly more eventfully. A 10-year-old boy from Kibbutz Givat Haim Meuhad, located near Hadera on the coast, was bit by a poisonous viper snake and brought to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, where he was given an antidote and saved from danger.
The director of the hospital's children's department, Dr. Adi Klein, noted that snakes are leaving their burrows after the winter with the changing of the seasons. Symptoms typical of the first bites of the season include great swelling, stomach pains, a drop in blood pressure, as well as loss of balance. The symptoms develop faster due to the quantity and concentration of the venom which has accumulated over the winter.
"It should be noted that not everyone who is bitten requires an antidote," added Klein. "But even if particularly serious symptoms do not appear, one should be checked at the hospital to determine treatment. It isn't necessary to bring the snake to the emergency room - most bites are from vipers, and the treatment is administered accordingly."