Family Discovers Deadly Snake Living in Their Christmas Tree

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: March 10, 2023
© Stu Porter/
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Key Points

  • In a home in South Africa, a boomslang stuck its head out of a family’s Christmas tree.
  • They called a snake expert who used snake tongs to safely remove the female snake.
  • This 4-5 foot long snake was released back into the wild.
  • Boomslangs are highly venomous. While they rarely bit, just a small amount of venom could kill a human.

Christmas is a time for magic, twinkling lights, delicious treats, and plenty of snuggled-up movie nights. It’s not the time for uninvited, sneaky, deadly reptiles to make their way into your beautifully decorated Christmas tree. This next video is a short clip from KHOU 11 news. The segment is aptly named “Critter News.”

The news reporter explains that this venomous snake, a female boomslang, was found in a home in South Africa. As she’s speaking, you see a photo of the snake sticking out of a Christmas tree. It seems fixated on something ahead and it’s surrounded by colorful decorations on the tree.

Cute cartoon snake wearing a santa hat wrapped around a christmas tree
Cute cartoon snake wearing a Santa hat wrapped around a Christmas tree — a much more adorable depiction of what this South African family witnessed.


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A male news reporter exclaims, “I mean, look at that thing!” The female reporter giggles as she goes on to explain what type of snake it is and that it is about four or five feet long. The video shows a second photo — this time of a man holding the snake with a special animal handling glove.

She continues explaining that this snake’s venom can be fatal to humans, even in small amounts. The video cuts to another photo of a man handling the snake with a snake tong. He has a focused look on his face as he keeps his eyes fixed on the snake’s head. He’s holding its tail with his left hand and positioning the snake tongs perfectly, just below the snake’s head.

The reporter says these are shy snakes that rarely bite. A snake expert is the one who recovered the boomslang. He explained that the snake was probably just looking for food, water, or shelter. It definitely wasn’t looking for presents with its name on them, even though it ended up where all the gifts are.

Female boomslang displays her fangs while hanging off tree branches
This female boomslang’s venom can be fatal to humans.

©Stu Porter/

The snake expert eventually released the snake back into the wild. The video shows the two news reporters at the end and the woman laughs again, saying “I would have been like burn the house down!” They continue bantering with one another, commenting on the snake’s name — boomslang — which is pretty cool sounding.  Although it rarely bites, you don’t want to be the once-in-a-blue-moon person who experiences that bite!

The segment ends as the woman says, “I’m not trying to play chicken with a snake!” Certainly, that family wasn’t either. They acted quickly and appropriately, getting an expert snake handler to help with the removal and safe release of the boomslang back into the wild.

Is This Normal Behavior?

A snake in your indoor Christmas tree is the last decoration you would expect. But in reality, it is normal for small animals and reptiles to make their way into homes and buildings especially in the colder months. Even in warmer months, they may be lured by the dark, cool spaces presented by a crack in the foundation or space beneath a door. Another temptation to venture inside is the possibility of a delicious meal. If you have mice or other small vermin venturing inside, there’s a good chance a snake may be nearby. Now, it is still bizarre for a snake to slither up a Christmas tree. Perhaps the snake was drawn to it since trees are found in her outdoor habitat.

boomslang slithering on branch
Male boomslangs have a brown tint to their green bodies with black or blue outlines.


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Female boomslang displays her fangs while hanging off tree branches
Female boomslang displays her fangs while hanging off tree branches
© Stu Porter/

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About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

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