The world's deadliest snake has been captured in Essex after it was transported to the UK on a container ship from India.
Workers discovered the 18in (45cm) saw-scaled viper - which had survived a 5,000 mile journey - after the vessel was unloaded at Tilbury dock.
In regions where it is found, the viper is thought to kill more humans than all other snake species combined. This is because it is extremely aggressive and lives in highly-populated areas.
Reptile expert Steve Mitchell was called to the dock to identify and capture the snake, which has been taken to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital in Grays.
Sue Schwar, founder of the hospital, told Sky News: "We got a call from the shipping company. They got a shock when they opened the container - as soon as they saw the snake they just shut it back in and called us.
"Our reptile guy Steve was available so he went down to scope it out. Thankfully, he recognised what it was straight away and knew how to deal with it.
"He has various bits of specialist equipment and used a snake hook and box to capture it.
"The key is to grab the snake before it has a chance to realise what's happening - if you hesitate it will be off like a shot or will have bitten you, and if it bites you, you're dead."
The hospital is now hoping to find a home for the snake in Britain with a holder of a dangerous wild animals licence. But it may have to be put down as the viper does not generally respond well to living in capitivity.
Ms Schwar said: "It's in our hospital for now but we hope to have it with us for the shortest time possible. But it has to go with someone who has the right experience and licence to keep it."
The saw-scaled viper is found primarily in India, China, South East Asia and the Middle East and while it is not the most venomous snake in the world it is believed to be the deadliest because it attacks so often.
Victims typically suffer pain, swelling and blistering at the site of the bite, bleeding from the gums, vomiting and a drop in blood pressure and heart rate.
Death from septicaemia or respiratory or heart failure may occur between one and 14 days after the attack.
The viper is the smallest of India's "Big Four" deadliest snakes, which also include the Indian cobra, common krait and Russell's viper.Dublin
Meanwhile in Dublin workers at the Guinness brewery were a little shocked to discover a snake at St. James' Gate.
The reptile was found yesterday while staff at the Diageo logistics centre were unpacking a delivery container which had arrived from Texas.
The DSPCA was called out to remove the reptile, which has now been christened JR because of his place of origin.
He was then taken to vet Bairbre O'Malle, one of Ireland's leading authorities on exotic pets.
She has identified him as a non poisonous corn snake, who was a little underweight and somewhat dehydrated.
JR is now being nursed back to health.