121 snakes in a suitcase - level 3
Here’s the moment customs officials at an airport in Shanghai uncovered 121 endangered snakes stuffed into a suitcase.
Snakes belonged to a particularly slippery smuggler who claimed that they were just toy snakes when officers asked to look inside his case after seeing abnormal images on the scanner screens. Upon opening the case customs officials found the reptiles stuffed into black stockings and packed away in 21 plastic boxes.
Snakes have been identified as endangered Ball pythons so called because they come into balls when frightened. It is illegal to trade snakes across international borders. These pythons had been smuggled to Hong Kong from Seattle by air cargo where the trafficker picked them up and carried them to Shanghai.
The unsuccessful smuggler was detained by police and may face up to life imprisonment for trafficking rare animals.
Difficult words: custom official (person who checks things which come to the country), endangered (there is not enough of them), slippery (somebody who can’t be trusted), reptile (animal like a snake, turtle or lizard), stocking (long and thin socks for women), pythons (snake which has no poison), cargo (goods carried in a ship or plane), detain (stop somebody from leaving).
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