Chinese authorities apprehended a man, believed to be in his 50s, who wanted to take the train to Guangzhou while carrying 50 live snakes that were in a bag wrapped in a towel inside his briefcase.
On Sunday, security guards at a train station in Zhejiang Province were startled upon seeing something wriggling about inside the man’s briefcase after placing it under a scanner.
Local authorities confiscated the snakes after discovering that they weren’t farmed, but instead were taken from the wild, according to South China Morning Post.
After being questioned by the police, the man revealed that he was planning on making snake wine using the venomous pit vipers he bought. The Chinese man explained that he traveled all the way to Zhejiang to buy 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of pit vipers after hearing that they were being sold there at a cheaper price.
While trading wild snakes is considered illegal in China, local authorities have yet to reveal the charges that the man will face.
Snake wine is believed in Chinese traditional medicine to have properties that can restore and invigorate those who consume it and is described as having a “fishy chicken” taste, according to BBC.
There are various methods of preparing snake wine such as cutting off the snake’s head, and mixing its fluids with alcohol. Others prefer making snake wine simply just by drowning the reptile in rice wine, and having the alcohol absorb its essence for several months.
Although it’s not clear whether consuming alcohol with snake has legitimate lasting health benefits or if it’s merely a novelty. But one thing is certain, others have used snakes in more questionable ways, like keeping a rattlesnake as a pet.