Thai man narrowly survives bite from his pet monocled cobra

A Thai man is warning exotic pet lovers not to “play with fire” after he narrowly survived a bite from his pet snake. Doctors had to amputate the man’s finger to save his life after he “trusted” his monocled cobra – a deadly venomous snake – to slither on his hands.

The anonymous snake lover, Mr A, posted on Facebook today to say, “This is a parable for anyone who raises venomous pets. Do not be careless with them.”

Mr A went on to explain that he has raised a monocled cobra for a long time. He said she is a good-tempered, non-aggressive snake comparable to an eel. He said he regularly picks up the venomous snake with his hands because he trusts her.

On October 24 at 10.40pm, Mr A picked up the cobra with his bare hands as usual. Unbeknownst to Mr A, the snake was shedding her skin and was in a grumpy mood. The cobra bit Mr A’s finger.

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Mr A did some basic first aid himself and then asked his friends to drive him to the hospital. He took the monocled cobra with him.

The snakebite victim explained that he experienced unbearable burning pain on his finger as soon as he was bitten. In the following 30 minutes he became dizzy, his eyelids began to droop, he was sweating profusely and his limbs started to feel weak. He could not move his muscles properly.

Mr A started to have breathing difficulties and doctors put him on a ventilator. Nurses watched his symptoms constantly to ensure he did not fall unconscious while awaiting the antivenom.

Mr A said he waited over two hours for the antivenom to arrive. He said he was sure that he was going to die. However, the serum arrived just in time to save his life.

Due to waiting so long, the monocled cobra’s venom had done irreversible damage to Mr A’s finger, which doctors had to amputate.

Doctors said it is unlikely Mr A would have survived had he not done the basic first aid before going to the hospital. Immediately after he was bitten, he washed the wound out with water to dilute the venom.

Then, he tied his finger loosely with a bandage to stop his finger from moving. If you get bitten by a venomous snake, the affected area should be kept completely still to prevent the venom from entering the bloodstream and travelling around the body.

Mr A repeated that the wound should never be wrapped tightly. He also warned never to suck the venom out of snake bites using your mouth, because the venom could enter the gastrointestinal tract.

The bitten person should try and stay awake. The venom attacks the nervous system and causes temporary paralysis which is harder to treat if the person falls unconscious.

If you live in or visit Thailand, you could encounter a venomous snake. To be prepared, read The Thaiger’s guide “What to do if you get bitten by a snake in Thailand.”

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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