Woman manages to sneak 22 snakes on a plane packed in her luggage

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A woman has been caught trying to smuggle 22 snakes and a chameleon into one of the world’s main wildlife trafficking hubs.

She stuffed all the reptiles into a single check-in bag and boarded a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Chennai, India, without alerting security.

Despite what Hollywood would have you think, taking so many snakes on a plane didn’t end badly for anyone but herself.

The ruse was rumbled when customs officers at Chennai International Airport decided to search the bag.

It’s thought they had to call in snake handlers when the animals got loose.

Airport staff shared footage of the specialists using hooked tools to scoop up several large snakes before shutting them in boxes.

Chennai accounts for more than a third of all illegal wildlife seizures in India, according to monitoring network TRAFFIC, even though the city and surrounding state of Tamil Nadu make up just 5% of the Indian population.

Experts in the black market trade say the local rich and famous are gripped by a craze for exotic pets.

But Chennai’s airport is also thought one of Asia’s 10 most-used hubs for smugglers trafficking exotic animals to other countries.

One of the largest seizures in recent years saw two women bound for Chennai arrested at Bangkok Airport with 109 animals including porcupines, armadillos, turtles, lizards and snakes.

For every bungled attempt to smuggle animals through the country, another nine make it through undetected, TRAFFIC’s experts estimate.

The 22 snakes at Chennai were seized after the woman landed on Thursday. It’s not clear whether she faces charges.

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