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Snake handler bitten by King Cobra at safari park
A SNAKE handler at the West Midland Safari Park had to be airlifted to hospital after being bitten by a King Cobra.
Mark O’Shea was bitten on the leg by the venomous snake at the tourist attraction, on Sunday.
It is believed Mr O’shea, who runs reptile tours at the safari park, was bitten as he tried to feed the snake and the park is now carrying out an investigation into the incident.
The TV personality, who Presented O'Shea's Big Adventure from 1999 until 2003, is currently in a stable condition at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
A spokeswoman for the safari park said: “He’s doing well. We’re working with the doctor to make sure he’s out of hospital quickly.”
A doctor, an ambulance crew, a responder paramedic and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham were called out to the incident shortly after 4pm.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “When crews and the doctor arrived, they found one of the parks’ snake handlers being cared for by their on-site first aiders. They had already immobilised the leg, administered excellent first aid and had anti-venom ready to administer if needed.
“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 Worcestershire 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.”
- King Cobras are the longest of all venomous snakes and can reach 18 feet in length.
- When confronted, they can raise up to one-third of their bodies straight off the ground and still move forward to attack.
- King Cobras will also hiss and flare out their hoods.
- Their venom is enough to kill 20 people and an elephant, although it is not as strong as some snakes.