A Chinese chef was bitten to death by the head of a cobra he had cut off 20 minutes earlier.
Chef Peng Chen was preparing the body of the Indochinese spitting cobra for a meal when the head reportedly jumped out of the trash and bit him. He died before medical assistance arrived.
Diner Lin Sun told The Mirror what happened:
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.
Now while this kind of accident is very rare, it is also not impossible as a cobra’s head retains some reflexive actions even after it has been severed from its body for an hour.
Explains snake expert Yang Hong-Chang:
It is perfectly possible that the head remained alive and bit Peng’s hand. By the time a snake has lost its head, it’s effectively dead as basic body functions have ceased, but there is still some reflexive action.
It means snakes have the capability of biting and injecting venom even after the head has been severed.