Snakes on a plane ... in Israel

Wednesday, June 06, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli customs agents at Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday caught a man trying to smuggle a large crate full of dangerous and protected snakes out of Africa.

The smuggler presented all the proper paperwork to transport a crate with live animals, but also managed to spark the suspicion of the customs officials, who decided to open the crate. Inside they found more than 70 cobras, mambas and pythons, reported Israel's Ma'ariv daily newspaper.

One Israeli worker was nearly bitten by a poisonous snake as he pried open the lid, said the head of customs operations at the airport, Rafi Gabai.

Endangered species of lizards and all types of scorpions were also found inside the crate.

The reptiles had been sold to the smuggler by animal dealers in Tanzania, and were bound for a zoo in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

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