Nature shows might want to demonstrate the striking capabilities of some poisonous snakes, but how is one to do so with minimal risk of a deadly bite?
How about take a hint from BBC Earth’s show, which taunted a puff adder snake with a red water balloon.
The effect in slow motion not only demonstrates the violent strike, but the balloon snapping gives the footage a little something extra on the visual scale.
“Oh! That was glorious,” BBC Earth host Steve said, flinching a bit as the snake struck the balloon he was holding at a distance with a gripping stick.
“That is absolutely unbelievable,” Steve continued. “It’s a very, very short strike, but you can see as the mouth opened the sheath that covered the fangs being exposed. They’re very, very long, those fans, and really act like tiny stiletto daggers, and they just knifed into the balloon and for a fraction of a second the water is just hanging there in one place.”
If the balloon were actually prey, the snake would have ejected venom but then would back off to let the poison do its work.
The puff adder, native in Africa, accounts for nearly 32,000 human deaths each year, the bites occurring mostly after the snake is accidentally stepped on. The venom from this snake is slow acting, making it possible to prevent death in up to 95 percent of cases with proper treatment.