TV reptile expert Mark O’Shea rushed to hospital after being bitten by deadly cobra.
TV reptile expert Mark O’Shea rushed to hospital after being bitten by deadly cobra
World-renowned reptile expert and TV wildlife personality Mark O’Shea had to be airlifted to hospital – after being bitten by a killer King Cobra.
Snake enthusiast O’Shea, 56, had a lucky escape after the massive 10ft (3m) reptile clamped its jaws around his leg at West Midlands Safari Park on Sunday afternoon.
The deadly cobra – whose venom is strong enough to kill an elephant – dug its fangs into the reptile curator’s leg during a routine feed.
First aid staff armed with life-saving anti-venom rushed to O’Shea’s aid due to fears that the deadly poison had entered his bloodstream.
But thanks to their quick thinking paramedics arrived to find him suffering no serious effects from the bite.
O’Shea – best known as the presenter of the Discovery Channel series ‘O’Shea’s Big Adventure’ and Channel 4’s ‘O’Shea’s Dangerous Reptiles’ - was airlifted to Worcester Royal Hospital where his condition was yesterday described as "stable".
He was expected to be discharged from hospital this afternoon.
Speaking from his hospital bed yesterday, O’Shea played down the bite from the king cobra - the world’s longest venomous snake – and described it as "just a nick."
He said: "It was an accident. It was just a nick really.
"Sometimes there are accidents at work but it’s just these sort of ones are a lot more interesting to people.
"It was a lucky escape. I would class any snake bite that doesn’t cause a serious injury to be a lucky escape. I won’t lie, it did hurt a bit.
"We are going to have a full investigation but it was just an accident. I’m hoping to be out of hospital soon."
Bob Lawrence, head keeper at West Midland Safari Park, added: "The animal was being fed behind closed doors. He’s lucky. He has had a few encounters before but he is fine.
"It is very, very rare that these things ever happen.
"Working with animals like this always carries hazards with it, but we have safety measures in place."
Mr Lawrence said the safari park stored anti-venom for all of its poisonous animals, and routinely rehearsed such situations with local hospitals.
West Midlands Ambulance Service said they received a call from the safari park at 4pm on Sunday and sent a doctor, an ambulance crew, a responder paramedic and the Midlands Air Ambulance to the scene.
A spokeswoman said: “When crews and the doctor arrived, they found one of the park’s snake handlers being cared for by their on-site first aiders.
"They had already immobilised the leg and administered excellent first aid.
“The man in his 50s had reportedly been bitten on the leg by a king cobra. The doctor assessed the man and found he was stable and suffering no serious effects from the bite.
“Due to the fact the venom can be lethal if it enters the bloodstream, the man was airlifted to Worcester Royal Hospital as a precaution.
"Medics at the hospital were pre-alerted to the arrival of the man who was said to be in a stable condition.”
It’s not the first time the daring reptile specialist has been attacked by a deadly snake.
In 1993 he nearly died when he was bitten by a canebrake rattlesnake – and he has since been on the receiving end of several other snakebites, spider bites and scorpion stings.
By Simon Garner | Yahoo! News – Mon, Aug 20, 2012
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