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Canebrake Rattlesnake in Luggage Bites Traveler

Snake stowaway bites unsuspecting Virginia man

I confess: I'm adicted to souvenirs. And yes, I've regretted many (if not most) of them by the time I returned home. But unlike Andy Bacas, high school rowing coach from Arlington, Virginia, I've never found a deadly stowaway in my luggage.

He had just returned home from a trip to South Carolina with his team and unzipped his suitcase to Snakes on a Plane?Snakes on a Plane?unpack. "He felt a sharp pain, brought his hand out and saw the bite," said Benjamin Barksdale, assistant chief and chief fire marshal of the Arlington County, Virginia, Fire Department.

Luckily, Bacas was able to close the luggage before the snake escaped. Firefighters took the suitcase outside, unzipped it and killed it with a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher.

The coach is in the hospital in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery - except for a lingering pathological fear of zipped luggage and snakes, we suspect.

The school's crew team website warns students to unpack their luggage outside and to use extreme caution. We think a 10-ft pole and taser might also be a good idea.

Hmmm, maybe there is something to that movie, Snakes on a Plane. Nah, couldn't be...

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