San Diego Zoo Caretaker Bitten by Highly Venomous Viper

A wildlife care specialist who is an employee at the San Diego Zoo was rushed to the hospital on Monday afternoon after a highly venomous African Bush Viper bit him.

The unfortunate incident took place around 2 p.m. while the wildlife care specialist was "caring for the reptile outside of the public area," said the zoo in a statement to NBC news.

"Although the San Diego Zoo cares for a number of venomous reptiles, incidents like this are very rare, and the snake was contained at all times with no risk of an escape," he said in a statement.

As per the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology, African Bush Viper, scientifically known as Atheris squamigera, inhabits parts of western and central Africa. It appears primarily in tropical forests and areas with dense vegetation where small rodents and other prey animals are abundant.

The snake has a compressed body and the dorsal surface of its head is covered with distinct small keeled scales. It is typically yellowish-green in color, helping to camouflage it in its natural habitat.

The employee's condition and his name were not immediately disclosed, but officials say they remain in close contact.

"There is no anti-venom for the African bush viper, and bites can cause fevers or internal bleeding, which can be fatal," reported NBC News.

Luckily, there are often cases where snakebite patients are cured completely. Earlier this year, a 10-year-old girl in Australia recovered from two massive bites from a deadly snake.

African Bush Viper, venomous snake
Highly venomous African Bush Viper Dominik Gigler/GETTY