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Woman held captive with poisonous snakes

TT/The Local/vt · 14 Feb 2011, 15:29

Published: 14 Feb 2011 15:29 GMT+01:00

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A large police force as well as an animal expert from Stockholm's Skansen open-air museum were dispatched to the flat to help free the woman and her child.

The two victims were threatened by a 43-year-old man, who owned six green Asian pit vipers and two puff adders.

The man told the woman that he would release the snakes if they tried to leave the apartment.

Eventually, the man gave up, newspaper Expressen reported on Monday.

However, before police technicians ventured into the apartment, celebrity animal expert Jonas Wahlström took care of the snakes.

Wahlström is also the director of the Skansen Aquarium.

"The police asked me to take care of the snakes. I found only eight - a snake may have escaped," Wahlström told the newspaper.

Police snuck into the apartment and successfully freed the woman and her child.

The green-coloured Asian pit viper is dangerous to humans and its venom can destroy red blood cells, disrupt blood clotting and cause organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage.

Injury from a hemotoxic agent is often extremely painful and can cause permanent damage. Loss of an affected limb is possible even with prompt treatment.

Separately, the puff adder is considered Africa's deadliest snake and can grow to more than two metres long. It is responsible for the most snake deaths in Africa and its venom is enough to kill four to five people.

Story continues below…

There was already a large police presence around the woman's apartment early on Sunday after she had alerted them of her situation. The police knew a rescue attempt was risky given that poisonous snakes were involved.

"We have classified the crime as unlawful detention. However, I cannot say any more because there is much more to do in the investigation and more will be revealed," Ove Svantesson, officer in command at Söderort police, told Expressen.

Officers likened the apartment to a "garbage dump" full of debris, including empty bottles, trash and cigarette butts. In addition to the snakes, there were also two lizards, one a half-metre long, the other one metre, the report said.

According to Wahlström, the lizards were left behind in the apartment and their fate will be determined by a prosecutor on Monday.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:58 February 14, 2011 by Swedesmith
Is it even legal to own such snakes?
17:06 February 14, 2011 by SarahPalin

Thats exactly what I was going to ask.
18:13 February 14, 2011 by laviniutza
I dont get this story. It sais it's woman's apartment. And looks trashy. And 8 snakes, 2 long lizards... and a man who owend them. My question is: is his apartment too? If so, means those snakes were there with the child and the woman before this, so i have another question; how they lived like that till now. And if the man doesnt live there how he brought thos huge snakes and lizards to the apartment?
18:46 February 14, 2011 by Rishonim
He will claim one of the puff adders communicated with him and told him to do it. The judge will buy the story and set him free after a very carefull consideration of the evidence. Knowing the way the system work, I would not be surprised if the use the case to blame the baby for burping too much after each meal.
20:31 February 14, 2011 by DJECKY
The woman has more to tell us,I think the woamn has been corperating to keep those snakes,and the lizards.i dont know why she has to bring the police into thier private life.They have both been keeping those snakes eigther has food or what i dont know.

Let that man be said free,.the lady corperated.
20:54 February 14, 2011 by laviniutza
I think they had a domestic violence and she claimed she was kept with those snakes. The police beside this domestic issue should investigate how and why were those snakes in the apartment. Isnt illegual? Maybe they were for a black market etc etc. And isnt dangerouse to keep a small child with those snakes? Isnt an abuse?
20:54 February 14, 2011 by Ivan Juric
Is that how this loony would choose to hold up a bank, with a handful of snakes...he must not know of the invention of firearms yet.
21:32 February 14, 2011 by Michael Whitfield
Is life in Sweden so boring that a person would want poisonous snakes for pets? Snakes that are native to Africa should be left in Africa. Why not just sit at home with a cold Pripps, Kalles kaviar for a snack and watch National Geographic on the Discovery channel when they have an episode on world's deadliest snakes.
21:53 February 14, 2011 by Southerner Up North
@ Ivan Joric

It does happen occasionally...

22:30 February 14, 2011 by muscle
Thats funny :P... perhaps the guy actually wanted to threaten the lady with some special "SNAKE" :P, but later he found out the lady was keeping other snakes already!

poor guy :P
20:38 February 15, 2011 by wenddiver
Women are excellent Judges of Men, go hang out at divorce court for a day and see what I mean. No boring working class stiff for them, no Sir, give me a Psycho with some of the most poisonous snakes in the world. It will be a good way for baby to lean about the world. She also has an excellent excuse for not cleaning the apartment, there might be a deadly African Viper or Adder behind that mess.

I say we lock both of them up and find an adoptive couple for the baby. The snakes should be shot or chopped up by a normal man as God intended. The Psycho should go to a large US style penitentary, so he won't have to go looking for dangerous animals they will come to him.
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