updated 8/10/2008 3:57:50 PM ET 2008-08-10T19:57:50

Police were investigating the disappearance of a venomous snake from an aquarium in Galveston, Texas, and said they believe the reptile has been stolen.

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The 10-inch African bush viper was last seen Thursday evening at the Moody Gardens aquarium.

Officials said the fastener holding a padlock on the snake exhibit appeared to have been tampered with and damaged.

The snake's venom is not deadly to humans but could cause serious health problems.

Staffers have taken X-rays of three vipers to make sure they did not eat the missing snake.

The same snake went missing for two days last month. Workers found it hiding on a metal screen sealing the top of its enclosure, but cannot explain how the snake got up there.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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