Warning: Upsetting scenes. A show-off snake charmer was killed after a king cobra bit him twice during a performance for neighbours.
The man, named Norjani, caught the reptile a week ago and kept it locked in his wooden hut for use in traditional medicine. He brought it out to show locals in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, but the snake grew increasingly angry as it was hit and spun around.
Norjani could be seen laughing at the five-metre-long reptile as it hissed and attempted to make a break for freedom. It then lunged at him and plunged its deadly fangs into the handler’s arm.
Norjani waved away residents who came to help and continued with the bizarre routine, which was caught on video. The king cobra then bit a second time on the healer’s face but he still continued smiling while doing his performance.
More than two hours after the 4pm performance, Norjani began to feel sick and was taken to hospital where medics gave him anti-venom. However, the cobra’s poison had already spread throughout his body and he was pronounced dead later that evening.
Norjani’s devastated family then killed the king cobra by chopping off its head, an act they believe would avenge any evil spirits.
Police said that Norjani – who claimed to be the best healer in the Mempawah district –had a reputation for risky behaviour with animals. Police Chief Dede Hasanudin said: ‘It is true that Norjani, or Nek Tadong as he was also known, was bitten and killed by the snake. At around 6.30pm the victim was taken to the clinic located in Menjalin District and was treated, but it was too late to save him. He was buried the next day and the family of the dead man killed the snake. Residents in the village knew that the victim used to keep many animals, including cobras. He was also good at treating people with traditional techniques and was known in the village as a shaman.’
The king cobra is found throughout southern Asia and is one of the most deadly species of snake in the world. Bite victims suffer swelling and redness around the wound, difficulty breathing, vomiting and nausea, blurred vision, sweating and salivating and numbness in the face and limbs.
Anyone who is bitten must try to remain still to slow blood circulation and prevent the venom spreading around the body. A tourniquet can also be used at the site of the bite to stem venom flow until the victim can reach a hospital to receive anti-venom. Cobra bites are responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the region.