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Air force commando in serious condition after snake bite

20-year-old from Shaldag unit rushed to hospital in unstable condition with bite marks on his neck; condition later stabilizes

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: A vipera palaestina viper in Israel. (CC BY-SA 3.0, Guy Haimovitch, Wikimedia Commons)
Illustrative: A vipera palaestina viper in Israel. (CC BY-SA 3.0, Guy Haimovitch, Wikimedia Commons)

A 20-year-old soldier in the Israeli Air Force’s elite Shaldag commando unit was listed in serious condition on Monday after being bitten by a snake in central Israel a day earlier.

The young man, hospitalized at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, was sedated and connected to a respirator. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said he had bite signs on his neck and was in unstable condition when rushed to the medical center.

The hospital said later on Monday that his condition had stabilized.

It was not immediately clear what species of snake caused the bite, but other soldiers who brought the wounded man to medics said it was venomous.

On Friday and Saturday, two men in their 30s and 40s were seriously hurt after being bitten by venomous snakes near Netanya and Michmoret, according to medical officials.

Last June, a noncommissioned officer was seriously hurt after being bitten by a snake on a base in central Israel.

Local vipers, Vipera palaestinae, are the most common venomous snakes found in Israel. They grow to an average length of 90 centimeters (36 inches) and are mainly nocturnal. Their venom contains a hematoxin that damages blood circulation and the lymphatic system. They generally feed on small rodents, toads, and birds.

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