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Beware the snake whose head you remove

Sniffing you out
Sniffing you out

Snakes, especially venomous snakes, don’t take kindly to having their heads severed from the rest of their body. How does one prove such a statement?

be very careful, even when you think this creature is dead

Look at the case of Peng Fan, a chef from Shunde, a district in the city of Foshan in Southern China’s Guangdong province, who was preparing a dish of snake soup, using an Indochinese spitting cobra, a delicacy in Asia. Approximately twenty minutes after chopping the cobra’s head off, the snake’s head bit the chef as he was tossing it into the rubbish, injecting him with its lethal venom.

Guests in the restaurant reported hearing screams from the kitchen. Chef Fan was rushed to the local hospital but died before he could be given an anti-venom. A police spokesman called it “a highly unusual case”. He said, “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. It was just a tragic accident”.

While this may sound like a wild fabrication, this is not the first time a snake has bitten someone after having its head severed.

“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.”

Bush indicated the longest he has heard of a snake striking after being decapitated was a rattlesnake whose severed head bit someone after 90 minutes. How is that even possible? The metabolism of reptiles is much lower than that of humans, meaning their internal organs remain alive longer, hence their ability to bite even when we believe they should be dead.

The lesson, according to Bush, is to be extremely careful around venomous snakes – even if they look dead.

“It’s important to inform the public that even a decapitated snake can kill you,” Bush said.