Snakes are a delicacy in many parts of the world and among them the Indochinese spitting cobra is held in high regard for both is scarcity and the alleged health benefits it holds to those who consume it.

For the people who prepare the cobras for consumption, however, it can be a completely different story. One chef in China’s Guangdong Province recently lost his life while dressing an Indochinese spitting cobra to serve to customers in a soup. Authorities are ruling this incident to be a freak accident. “Freak” is the operative word here, as the snake that bit the chef had reportedly had its head cut off several minutes earlier.

According to the Mail Online, chef Peng Fan was clearing the cooking area and about to toss the severed head into the trash when it gave him one last bite on the hand. The Indochinese spitting cobra’s venom is potentially lethal by paralyzing the respiratory system and suffocating the victim. However, the effects can be successfully treated with the proper antivenom.

In a remarkable act of unpreparedness, there was no antivenom on-hand in the restaurant that evening and Fan succumbed to the neurotoxin’s asphyxiating effects before any could arrive. As unusual as a snake’s severed head biting someone may sound, snake experts would agree that it’s not unlikely at all.

The Indochinese spitting cobra along with some other reptiles and animals continue to have motor functions long after losing a major body part such as the head. Although it is technically dead, the snake will still continue to bite out of reflex. At the foot of this article is a video showing this, but having watched it I don’t recommend it. It really is quite unpleasant, and you can just take my word that they do keep biting well after losing their heads.

Readers of the news in Japan were overwhelmingly reminded of that scene in Princess Mononoke when Moro’s dying head takes one last bite of Lady Eboshi. One person passed on the wisdom of Bear Grylls saying “Bear-san said to always burn or bury the [snake’s] head.” I don’t know if that’s actually good advice or not but frankly it’s just surprising that Bear Grylls is so popular in Japan.

Source: Mail Online (English) via Kini Soku (Japanese)
Top Image: Wikipedia – Danny S
Video: YouTube –Xmax News

▼ The following is a video of snakes being decapitated. It’s graphic and probably best left unviewed.

▼ Seriously, even the still frame is nasty to look at. 

▼ Really, you’re sure?





▼ OK, don’t say we didn’t warn you…