An encounter between a snake and a baby ended in a surprising outcome Thursday, when the infant's mother walked into his room to find him chewing on the dead reptile.
The infant, Imad Gadir, whose family resides in Shfaram, was not hurt when he bit the unlucky coin snake, but was taken to Haifa's Ramabam Medical Center, just in case.
According to Imad's grandfather, Shaheen Shaheen, who recalled the family's tumultuous morning, the boy woke up when his father left for work at 6:30 am. The 1-year-old left his parents' bed and headed to his room, where he found the 35-centimeter (13-inch) snake. He then grabbed it and bit its head off.
Imad, his father and the bitten snake (Photo: Maor Buchnik)
"It wasn't a pretty sight," Shaheen said. "He's a baby, he didn't know what he was doing. He thought it was a game. I don't wish this kind of thing on anyone."
When Imad's mother realized what had happened she began screaming, until a neighbor jumped the house's fence, entered the room and snatched the snake out of the boy's hand.
"I went to the kitchen to get him some milk, and when I came back I saw he was already eating," the mother, Alain, said. "I screamed until the neighbors came. I still can't believe what I saw."
Veteran snake-catcher Eli Cohen said he has never come across a case of this kind.
"I guess the kid acted out of a childish instinct when he put the snake in his mouth," he said. "Luckily for him, the coin snake isn't poisonous, otherwise it could have ended in a tragedy."
Eli Cohen, the owner of a pest control company, estimated that the snake was three years old, and said that his bite often hurts but is not dangerous to anyone who isn't allergic to it. He said that this type of reptile chokes his prey. "If it was a bigger snake, the boy could have been strangled."
Aviel Magnezi contributed to this report