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Naja haje. Photo by Thinkstock
A Jordanian reptile shop owner who apparently smuggled an Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) onto an EgyptAir flight was bitten by the venomous snake after it escaped from the man's carry-on bag, forcing the plane to land at Egypt's Al Ghardaqa's Hurgada airport.
According to the New York Daily News, the plane was en route to Kuwait where the shop owner lives when the pilots heard screams in the cabin as the cobra crawled under the passenger seats.
The report said the 48-year-old shop owner, Akram Abdul Latif, smuggled the snake in his carry-on bag. The snake escaped and Latif was bit as he tried to regain control of the reptile. Once the plane landed, Latif was taken to a hospital where he refused treatment, saying the bite was just a "superficial injury." The snake was then confiscated by Egyptian authorities, the report said.
The Egyptian cobra is one of the larger cobras that can be found on the African continent. It can grow to more than nine feet in length, with averages lengths of about 6.5 feet. The venom of the Egyptian cobra attacks the nervous system and prevents nerve signals from being transmitted throughout the body, which eventually causes respiratory failure.