Man Charged With Selling Venomous Snake In MarylandVenomous snakes are prohibited as pets in the state. Photo by Maryland Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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Man Charged With Selling Venomous Snake In Maryland

Venomous snakes are prohibited as pets in the state.

The venomous snake was sent to a wildlife preserve until a proper home for it can be found.

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced on its Facebook page that a Maryland man was charged with selling a West African bush viper (Atheris sp) May 27. The man, Joshua Lee Roberts, 36, of Hagerstown apparently made contact with natural resources police officers who arranged to purchase the venomous snake that was posted for sale on Craigslist.

After the supposed sale, Roberts was charged and faces a maximum fine of $1,000. The snake was sent to the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve in Thurmont until the Maryland DNR finds a permanent home for the venomous reptile. There is no antivenin available for any viper species in the Atheris genus.


Bush vipers of the Atheris genus are often found to live aboveground and reside mostly in central Africa’s rainforest habitats. They are mostly green in coloration but the colors can vary between species and even in the same species. They grow to about 2 1/2 feet in length.

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These Old World vipers have triangular heads and have fangs that fold rearward when they aren’t in use. These vipers differ from pit vipers in that they lack the facial heat pits that pit vipers are known for. The venom of these snakes quickly break down flesh once an animal or human is envenomated, which can cause serious necrosis, loss of extremities and death.