Chaos erupted in China when deadly cobras used to make wine escaped into a city.
Residents fled their homes as the snakes quickly spread.
According to the Mirror the snakes, which were being kept by
a distiller to make snake wine, escaped into an alley in the city of
Foshan in China’s South-Eastern Guangdong province.
The troublesome serpents, each measuring between 20-30cm, caused mayhem for local law enforcement according to a local police spokesperson: “We had more than 100 calls in a few minutes.”
“They were popping up through cracks in walls, down gutters, out of drains, in alleyways and side-streets, everywhere all at the same time,” he said.
“People were hysterical and were begging for people to come and catch the snakes.”
Police announced a team of local snake experts were on the case but warned it would take some time to round up all the escapees.
Local resident Wei niu said it wasn’t the first time either: “Their owner has been warned before about the security of his premises, it isn’t right to have so many dangerous snakes close to people.”
The owner of the evasive reptiles, Lu Zhong, admitted losing track of his charges but was unsure how the mass break-out had occurred: “I keep lots of snakes as we make snake wine.”
“One day I returned to find many snakes missing, they had managed to escape,” he said.
“I have been helping to catch the runaway snakes and so far have managed to catch around 30, the experts have caught about 70, but there are still around another 50 at large.”
“I am very sorry about the incident and will take better care in the future.”
Zhong will have to pay for the costs of the clean up and will face a fine.
It’s not the first time snake wine has caused problems in China, last year a woman was bitten on the hand by a seemingly pickled serpent.
According to the Mirror the tradition of drinking snake wine dates back more than 3,000 years in China to the early Zhou Dynasty.
It is an alcoholic beverage produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine or grain alcohol.
Fans believe the snake’s venom, diluted in alcohol, becomes a health tonic that can restore the body’s natural balance.