Skip to main content

Snakes on the loose at Chinese university

By Katie Hunt, for CNN
December 11, 2012 -- Updated 0630 GMT (1430 HKT)
The snakes let loose on campus were later verified as non-venomous.
The snakes let loose on campus were later verified as non-venomous.
  • Dozens of snakes let loose on Chinese university campus
  • Animal control experts capture 40 live snakes, 60 dead ones
  • Expert says snakes are not poisonous and suspects they were released deliberately

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Students at a university in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou were given a scare last week, after dozens of snakes invaded the campus.

The Guangzhou Daily reported Monday that animal control experts had caught around 40 live snakes on Saturday after a number of the reptiles were spotted writhing along a road in Guangzhou University City.

Around 60 snakes were also found dead, most squashed by traffic.

"On the way to the library I saw a green snake lying on the road in the sun, about 50 cm long," the newspaper quoted one student as writing on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

A student from South China Normal University, one of a number of institutions with colleges on the island campus, told her friends to be careful after finding about 60 snakes -- some run over by cars and other lurking in the grass.

Read: Snake on a plane forces emergency landing

An official at Sun Yat-Sen University contacted by CNN confirmed that snakes had been found but said they did not know any details.

Zhang Liang, from the South China Institute of Endangered Animals, identified the snakes as chequered keelbacks, a common species in the region, and said they were not poisonous.

"This kind of snake likes the sun. It's timid and will not hurt people," he said.

If they came across a snake, he said that students should call the city's wild animal protection bureau and not poke or try to catch it.

Zhang said he suspected that the snakes had been released deliberately. Most of the captured snakes had bite marks on their bodies, suggesting they had been kept in a confined space.

The snake invasion was not a signifier of an earthquake or other natural disaster, he cautioned, after students described the incident as an apocalyptic sign.

CNN's Zhang Dayu and Stephanie Ma in Beijing contributed to this report

Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.