updated 8/12/2007 8:23:06 AM ET 2007-08-12T12:23:06

A Saudi passenger tried to smuggle a large number of reptiles, including cobra snakes and infant Nile crocodiles, out of Egypt in his luggage, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Sunday.

The discovery of the reptiles in the passenger's bags triggered a brief panic among security personnel at the Cairo International Airport, witnesses said.

The 22-year-old passenger, identified only as Anas, said he needed the reptiles, which also included chameleons, for scientific research at his university in Saudi Arabia.

His collection will be handed over to Egypt's main zoo in Cairo.


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