Chimpanzee Cheats Death After Mistaking Deadly Snake for Toy


A three-year-old chimpanzee that was bitten by one of the world’s most venomous snakes after mistaking it for a toy has survived against the odds.

The chimp, named Gandali, was bitten by the eastern brown snake inside his enclosure at Rockhampton Zoo in Australia, after trying to play with it.

An older chimp immediately rushed to his aid, holding him protectively before keepers took him for treatment.

“Earlier today, our beloved 3-year-old chimpanzee Gandali was bitten by a snake at the Rockhampton Zoo,” the zoo said in a Facebook post. “He is in a serious condition and will continue to receive treatment overnight.”

📢UPDATE📢Huge sigh of relief, Gandali received veterinary care overnight and is now back at the zoo being reintroduced to the troop.Thank you to our…

Eastern browns are venomous snakes native to eastern and southern Australia, and can grow to around 7 feet long. They have highly potent venom, second only in the world to the inland taipan, according to the University of Melbourne’s Australian Venom Research Unit. Bites from these snakes can cause internal bleeding, as well as seizures, nausea and cardiac arrest.

“This species is common throughout the eastern half of Australia and is particularly abundant in farmland and suburban areas where they can find their favorite prey: rats and mice. Because these snakes can thrive in suburban areas this also means that humans can come across them quite often,” Alessandro Palci, a reptile researcher at Flinders University in Australia, previously told Newsweek.

Stock image of a young chimpanzee. A three-year-old chimp named Gandali has been bitten by a venomous eastern brown snake in a zoo in Australia.

“If a bite does occur, medical attention needs to be sought immediately, because they have a very potent neurotoxic venom, which can quickly lead to paralysis and death,” Palci said.

This species is responsible for the most snakebite deaths in Australia. It was involved in 41 percent of identified snakebites in Australia between 2005 and 2015, and in 15 of the 19 deaths.

“Because of their small fangs, bites typically look like very small scratches and can thus be easily overlooked,” Palci said. “If someone suspects that they have been bitten by an eastern brown snake they should immediately seek medical attention even if they are unsure. Antivenom for these snakes is available and can be administered in the hospital if necessary.”

Samantha, another chimp and Gandali’s surrogate mother, made a beeline for Gandali after he was bitten, tightly holding him in her arms.

eastern brown
Stock image of an eastern brown snake, the species that bit Gandali.

“Her maternal instincts kicked in and [she] was holding him very tight,” Rockhampton Councilor Cherie Rutherford told local news ABC Australia. “We had no idea how much venom had gone into his system—he was in considerable distress.”

“At one stage, his blood was not clotting and he had all the technical signs of a snake bite.”

Thankfully, Gandali survived after being treated overnight.

“He is doing fabulously well,” Rutherford said. “He is now back with his regular keepers and they have the very tough task of … trying to keep a three-year-old chimpanzee quiet.”

In a video posted to Facebook, Gandali and Samantha can be seen reuniting.

“Huge sigh of relief, Gandali received veterinary care overnight and is now back at the zoo being reintroduced to the troop, the zoo said in another Facebook post. “Thank you to our veterinary team and Rockhampton Zoo family for nursing Gandali back to good health.”

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