Black Mamba Investigation Continues; Questions Remain | News

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Black Mamba Investigation Continues; Questions Remain
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KINGSLAND, Ga. -- The search for a possible black mamba snake is continuing, though authorities still aren't sure there is such a snake in the area.

Rick Lavender, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division, issued an update on the story that began with a reported snake bite Monday.

Lavender said his department is joining with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kingsland Police Department in the investigation.

Jacksonville resident John K. Rosenbaum, 22, told officers he had gone to Georgia Monday to buy a black mamba, a snake not native to the southeastern United States.

According to Lavender, Rosenbaum said the deal was set to take place at about 2:30 a.m. Monday off Interstate 95 Exit 3 in Kingsland.

Rosenbaum reportedly said while the meeting was taking place, the snake escaped, and in his effort to recapture it, the snake bit him.

Rosenbaum was initially treated at Southeast Georgia Medical Center before being taken to Shands, where he was given anti-venin from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.  He is not in the system at Shands, so an update on his condition is not available.

The only information about the snake has come from Rosenbaum, so investigators, according to Lavender, are still working to piece together what happened, though he added any details involving public safety issues will be made available as needed, and investigators are "making every effort to determine who might have the snake."

Lavender noted that possession of non-native, inherently dangerous snakes is allowed only by permit in Georgia, and Jacksonville zoo herpetologist Steve Gott said Tuesday the same rule applies in Florida.

Transporting such a species is a misdemeanor; it and other violations are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  Lavender also noted there is nobody in the state of Georgia with a license for a black mamba, and Rosenbaum also does not have such a license.

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