A family received an early Christmas surprise on Friday when they discovered something lurking in their tree, which turned out to be a venomous snake.

Rob Wild and his wife, Marcela, who live in South Africa, were shocked to discover a snake lurking in the tree branches of their Christmas tree, according to CNN. They didn't realize the snake was venomous until Rob Googled snakes in the area, bringing up search results for "boomslang" snakes.

"I didn't know what it was at the time but then I Googled what snake are in our area and it came up immediately as a boomslang," said Rob. "I thought 'holy Moses, this is the king of all poisonous snakes.'"


Rob, a stock market trader who relocated from the United Kingdom to South Africa, told the outlet that at first his wife just guessed it was probably a mouse in the tree.

"The cats were peering into the tree and my wife said 'there's probably a mouse in there somewhere,'" Rob said.

After discovering that the snake was a boomslang, the Wild family contacted Gerrie Heyns, a snake catcher, in order to lure the creature out of the tree.

He advised the family to stay away from the tree, while maintaining eye contact with the snake. Heyns arrived at the families home two hours later and used "snake tongs" in order to catch the snake.


"Once I had it under control the family came right up to see the snake," said Heyns. "It didn't try to bite or be defensive because I gave it no reason to. A scary moment turned into an exciting moment for the children."

After holding the snake by the neck and placing it in a "snake tube," Heyns took it home with him. He released the snake back into the wild on Sunday.

Heyns told the outlet that the snake had probably ended up in the tree in an attempt to find food, water, or even shelter, adding that it probably went in the tree when it "saw the first movement."