Family Xmas tree
The Wild family with Dad Rob, 55, mum Marcela, 35, and son Edward, 11, and daughter Sarah, 7, with family pet dog Darcy

A festive family in South Africa got a shock after putting up their Christmas tree and decorating it – when a deadly poisonous SNAKE poked its head out from behind a bauble!

Snake in Xmas tree
A deadly venemous boomslang snake was found staring at the homeowners from the top of their newly decorated Christmas tree in South Africa. To use any of the text or photos, please contact Jamie Pyatt News Ltd.

British family Rob and Marcela Wild were admiring their just-up fir with children Edward and Sahara when they suddenly spotted the venomous boomslang.

The snake is drop-by-drop the most poisonous snake in South Africa ahead of the mamba and the cobra and one bite could prove fatal without the antidote.

The silent fright froze the family with fear as they watched their fanged guest move around the branches then settle down between the lights and tinsel.

Snake Christmas tree
The boomslang stretches right out from the Xmas tree into thin air!

Rob, 55, from Borehamwood, Herts, said: “We’d just decorated the tree up and the kids were putting the presents beneath it before turning the lights on.

“We were admiring our work when my wife Marcela pointed to our two cats and said she thought there might be a mouse in the tree as they were staring at it.

“They often bring “gifts” in from the farm we live on so Marcela went to have a look and moved a bauble and saw a snakes head staring straight back at her.

“She gave a shriek and shouted “snake” and we all got back and I went forward for a better look and googled it and realised it was a deadly boomslang.

Dog Christmas tree snake
The Wild family dog Darcy unaware a boomslang is in the tree behind him!

“We had a number for a snake catcher and rang and he told us to keep it in the tree so every time it came down we rustled the presents to send it back up.

“It was a very long two hours until he got here and it was like the cavalry turning up but once he hooked it out with his tongs we could breathe again!” he said.

UK Stock Market Trader Rob moved to South Africa 15 years ago with wife Marcela and they have a son Edward, 11, and a daughter Sahara, 6.

He said:” I was wishing for a lot of things to be under the tree for Christmas Day but one thing I wasn’t wishing for was a four-foot long poisonous snake!

Snake catcher Gerrie Heyns, 49, was sent photos of the snake’s head poking out the tree with a circle round its head by Rob but dismissed them as a prank.

It was only when he got a phone call from them he realised there REALLY was a dangerous snake in the home and grabbed his snake tongs and bucket.

Gerrie said: “I thought it was one of my fellow snake catchers trying to catch me out and closed down the photos after laughing ‘they won’t be fooling me’.

“Then my mobile rang and it was Rob who sent the photos and promised me they really did have a boomslang in their Christmas tree and it was no joke.

Children Xmas tree snake
Sahara Wild, 6, and big brother Edward, 11, pose in front of their Xmas tree – unaware a deadly boomslang is lurking in the decorations! To use any of the text or photos, please contact Jamie Pyatt News Ltd.

“I drove over to theirs telling them not to take their eyes off it in case it slithered away from the Christmas tree and found itself a hiding place in their home.

“It wasn’t an easy catch as it was very nippy and it kept going up and down and round and round the tree and I was trying not to upset the decorations or lights.

“Eventually it came down itself and made a break for it and I was able to get my tongs on it then my hand behind its head to make sure it couldn’t bite me.

“They can open their mouths 170 degrees and they are highly venomous if they bite you and can cause a painful death by internal and external bleeding.

Boomslang snake catcher
A female boomslang held by snake catcher Gerrie Heyns

“The venom basically stops your blood coagulating so you need the anti-venom to survive or blood literally comes out of every orifice that your body has.

“Drop-by-drop they are the most venomous snake in South Africa but they don’t kill as many as the cobra or mamba as their poison is very slow acting.

“You have about 8 to 20 hours to get to hospital and get the antidote.

“I would stress they are extremely peaceful snakes and non-aggressive and happy to be left alone so if you see one in a tree then just leave it there.

Snake catcher
Professional snake catcher Gerrie Heyns plays Santa for a terrified famiy and removes a deadly boomslang snake from their Christmas tree in South Africa

“They will not attack unless they feel extremely threatened and only to defend themselves and I suspect this one slithered inside the home to get shade.

“Finding a tree inside was a bonus but sadly it was the family Xmas tree!”.

Boomslangs can grow to six feet and can be bright green, yellow or olive in colour and live in trees and feed on lizards, frogs, birds and birds’ eggs.

Snake catcher Gerry from nearby Montagu said: “She was well nourished and in good health and was released in the wild well away from any Xmas trees!”.

To use any of the text, video or photos, please contact Jamie Pyatt News Ltd.

WATCH Boomslang in Christmas Tree, South Africa, December 2021