Lesson learned: Severed snake heads can still bite - WRBL

Lesson learned: Severed snake heads can still bite

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Indochinese spitting cobra (Photo: Wikipedia) Indochinese spitting cobra (Photo: Wikipedia)

It sounds like a wild fabrication: A spitting cobra, being prepared for a dish in a restaurant in southern China, bit and killed a chef 20 minutes after its head had been chopped off, according to a report in China Daily.

The bizarre attack happened when chef Peng Fan was preparing a dish using the body of an Indochinese spitting cobra. The head was decapitated from the snake's body, yet was still able to inject fatal venom into the chef after he threw it in the trash.

It turns out decapitated snakes do this quite frequently.

"Hell, yes, that can happen," Sean Bush, snake expert at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, told NBC News. "It's a last-ditch effort to survive, so it's very common. They get real snappy in the throes of death."

The longest Bush has heard of a snake striking after being decapitated was a rattlesnake whose severed head bit someone after 90 minutes.

Reptiles have much lower metabolisms than humans do, meaning their internal organs stay alive longer, hence the biting.

The lesson? Be careful around venomous snakes— even if they look dead.

"It's important to inform the public that a even decapitated snake can kill you," Bush said.

More:

Seen snakes? Tell FWC

7 venomous snakes removed from Sarasota man's home

Poisonous Cottonmouth snake found in toilet

Woman finds 7 ft. snake in engine after car breaks down

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Copyright 2014 WFLA via NBC News. All rights reserved.


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