Actual Snakes on a Plane

It’s happened before, both in a movie and in real life, but somehow snakes keep squirming their way onto planes, this time on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Bangkok to Hanoi.

On Thursday, authorities at Hanoi’s Noi Boi Airport discovered thousands of non-venomous snakes that had been shipped as cargo in 60 boxes. According to the Associated Press, Trinh Ngoc Thanh, Vietnam Airline’s spokesman, said that the boxes had been declared as carrying live fish. Unfortunately for the snakes, who had been packed in ice water, many died en route. Those who had made it alive were transferred to the Wild Animal Rescue center in Hanoi.

This isn’t the first time that Vietnam has had a snake shipment problem. Last month authorities found 1,540 pounds of dead snakes on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok. Besides raising questions about cargo inspection at the Bangkok airport, it also points at an important wildlife issue; Ptyas Mucosus, the scientific name for the snakes, are a protected species, thereby implying illegal trade.

In any event, for those of you traveling through Southeast Asia, it might be a good idea to keep Samuel L. Jackson’s number on hand. He did do an impressive job dealing with those on-board snakes in the movie