A San Diego Zoo employee has been bitten by a venomous viper, according to officials.
A wildlife care specialist was bitten Monday by an African bush viper “while they were in an area away from the public,” an official said, NBC News reported.
The employee was hospitalized for “evaluation and medical care,” the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said, according to KTLA5. The snake was “contained at all times with no risk of an escape,” according to the zoo.
“Although the San Diego Zoo cares for a number of venomous reptiles, incidents like this are very rare,” officials said.
Adult African bush vipers are found in central African countries and can grow to around 2 feet, according to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense. It’s known by its scientific name “Atheris squamigera.”
The viper’s venom is likely hemotoxic, which can disrupt blood clotting, destroy red blood cells and cause tissue or organ damage. Currently, there is no anti-venom but some therapies have proven effective, according to the DoD.