|Video snapshot of Indochinese spitting cobra|
Chef Peng Fan from Foshan, Guangdong province, southern China, was busy preparing a rare delicacy soup dish made from Indo-chinese spitting cobra (also called the Thai spitting cobra) when the snake bit his hand - 20 minutes after he decapitated it.
Bite symptoms include pain, swelling and necrosis around the wound. The bite of this snake is potentially lethal to an adult human and deaths are usually due to paralysis and consequent asphyxiation.
It was when Chef Fan was about to toss the cobra's severed head into the bin that it bit him, injecting him with the neurotoxic venom.
Restaurant guest Lin Sun, 44, who was in the restaurant with his wife Su at the time said: ‘We were in the restaurant having a meal for my wife’s birthday when suddenly there was a lot of commotion.
‘We did not know what was happening but could hear screams coming from the kitchen.
‘There were calls for a doctor in the restaurant but unfortunately by the time medical assistance arrived the man had already died.
‘After we heard that we did not continue with our meal.’
|Video snapshot of snake head still biting after it’s been severed|
According to police, Peng died before he could be given life saving anti-venom in hospital.
‘It is a highly unusual case but it appears to be just an accident. The man had a very severe reaction to the bite, said a police spokesman.
‘There was nothing that could be done to save the man. Only the anti-venom could have helped but this was not given in time.
‘He prepared the snake himself and was just unlucky. It was just a tragic accident.’
|Video snapshot of a venomous snake’s head that is about to be cut off.|
Enjoying snake meats of all sorts in local culinary dishes is nothing new for the residents of the Guangdong province.
For many centuries it has been commonly served up in a soup, and is also taken as part of Chinese medicine, for it is believed that snake meat can cure ailments.
A sort of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ concept – the more poisonous the delicacy, the more beneficial it is to the body.
One local said: ‘Snake meat is really good for us. It is not so easy to get and is expensive but it has spectacular health benefits.’
‘I have never heard any cases of a dead snake killing anyone, especially not in the kitchen.’
Did You Know…
- Spitting cobras are able to spit immediately after hatching!
- The Indochinese spitting cobra is nocturnal and aggressive at night, but during the day, it is timid and quickly runs away.
- All reptiles can function for up to an hour after losing body parts, or even their entire body, according to snake expert Yang Hong-chang – who has spent 40 years studying cobras. ‘It means snakes have the capability of biting and injecting venom even after the head has been severed.’