A chef died when the head of a snake, which had been severed from its body twenty minutes prior, bit him and injected him with its fast-acting venom.
Peng Fan had been dicing up the snake to prepare a snake soup, made from the Indochinese spitting cobra. The dish is a rare delicacy in Asia. However, when Fan went to throw the snake’s head into the trash, the head bit him.
According to police, Fan died before he could be given lifesaving anti-venom in the hospital.
“It is a highly unusual case but it appears to be just an accident,” said a police spokesman. “He prepared the snake himself and was just unlucky.”
“There was nothing that could be done to save the man,” the spokesman continued. “Only the anti-venom could have helped but this was not given in time. It was just a tragic accident.”
Diners who were eating at the restaurant at the time of the unexpected tragedy have described hearing screams coming from the kitchen.
“We were in the restaurant having a meal for my wife’s birthday when suddenly there was a lot of commotion,” said 44-year-old Lin Sun said.
“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.”
Snake expert Yang Hong-Chang, who has spent 40 years studying cobras, noted that all reptiles can function for up to an hour after losing body parts, or even their entire body.
“It means snakes have the capability of biting and injecting venom even after the head has been severed,” Hong-Chang explained.
Death is caused by paralysis, which leads to asphyxiation. The snake’s venom is so potent, however, that even if it only spits venom into a victim’s eyes, the victim can be permanently blinded.