The Korea Herald


Venomous snake removed from a Seoul apartment complex

By Lim Jae-seong

Published : May 16, 2023 - 14:49

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A tiger keelback snake was spotted at an apartment complex in Mapo, Seoul on Monday. (Courtesy of reader) A tiger keelback snake was spotted at an apartment complex in Mapo, Seoul on Monday. (Courtesy of reader)

A snake was removed from an apartment complex in Mapo-gu, western Seoul on Monday, after a report from an elementary school student recognized it as a venomous species.

The one-meter-long snake was spotted by a group of children, and one of them noticed that it had some features of the tiger keelback breed, based on his knowledge of reptiles, local media reports.

Thanks to the child’s rapid report, the snake was caught by the emergency personnel. No injuries involving the snake were reported.

The media did not specify the child’s name. A Twitter user introducing herself as the child’s cousin testified that he has taken a deep interest in reptiles.

“He never loses a chance to talk about geckos or frogs, showing them to us one by one, and this time, he finally put his knowledge to use,” she said on her Twitter account.

The tiger keelback snake, which normally inhabits rice paddies, riversides or lower mountains feeding on small amphibians, is active between April and October in South Korea. Its presence in rural areas indicates a relatively clean environment. It has irregular red patterns on green skin, giving it the other name of “kkotbaem,” which translates into “flower snake.”

A tiger keelback's venom can cause a headache, renal failure, fainting and even death, though the snake rarely strikes and instead usually flees.

Sightings of this breed have increased in the past two or three years, attributable to the increase of mice or other rodents near the Han River, following more people visiting riverside parks, Lee Sang-don, an environmental science and engineering professor at Ewha Womans University, said to local media on Monday.