Skip to comments.World Champion 'Snake Man' Killed by Cobra
Posted on 03/22/2004 7:54:23 AM PST by presidio9
Thailand's Boonreung Buachan, holder of the Guinness Book of World Records title for spending the most time penned up with snakes, was killed by a cobra that bit him during his daily show, a hospital doctor said on Monday.
Boonreung, 34 and dubbed Snake Man, was rushed unconscious to Prai Bung Hospital near his home town, 350 miles northeast of Bangkok, Dr Wipa Praituan told Reuters.
"He was brought here with no signs of life. He wasn't breathing and his heart didn't beat," she said.
Boonreung was listed by the "Guinness Book of World Records" in 1998 after living with snakes in a glass box for seven days.
An epileptic, he went into convulsions after being bitten, but no one took him to the hospital initially because they thought he was suffering an epileptic fit.
Boonreung's father said he would give his son's 30 snakes to a zoo because nobody in the family dared deal with them.
Some contests, you can't afford to lose.
If a snake killed my kid the other 30 would meet my machete.
Timothy Treadwell alert.
I think our Aussie bloke takes more care than is apparent. He is a very good herpetologist ....one of the best. And he knows which snakes he can 'muck' with and which ones are best left alone.
For example he can lift up the Australian Fierce snake and say it is the most venomous land snake in the world. And then he lifts it up and places it within striking distance of his face. To most that seems like an amazing thing to do but in actuality it is really calculated. The fierce snake is drop for drop the most venomous land snake (although many disagree which is the true no.1 heavy hitter), but it is not by far the most lethal. It is a pretty docile reptile that tends to run away rather than attack. The most lethal snake is the one that has potent venom, but also has a predisposition to strike hard and often. A fierce snake is extremely venomous, but it is only potentially dangerous. The most lethat snake is probably the fierce snake's African cousing, a fellow elapid, the black mamba.
Now, there was an episode where he was supposed to 'muck' with a Black Mamba. I remember ensuring i planned my work schedule so i could see that particular episode. Why? Because the Mamba is a 'requiem snake' ...serpentine death. Its venom may not be as potent as that of the fierce snake, but it is still over 65 times more potent than that of a Western Diamondback rattlesnake (and twice as deadly as a cobra). Herpetologist toxicologists say the Fierce snake is 80 times more venomous than a Western Diamondback, but as you can see the Mamba is no slouch. 65 times will kill you as easily as 80 times. However the Mamba has several attributes that easily put it over the Australian elapid. For one Mambas can reach lengths of 14 feet, they are highly aggressive when bothered (and single snakes have been known to kill multiple victims), they are the world's fastest snake (human beings can run faster than a mamba, but when you add undergrowth and bushes there is a chance the snake will nab you), and large specimens can rear themselves up to 6 feet off the ground (effectively being able to bite you in the face). A sight to see is the streamlined head of a mamba rising above 6 foot tall elephant grass and moving in absolute grace ....very hypnotic yet terribly 'wrong.' And these snakes strike fast and aggresively.
Hence when Steve Irwin faced off with the Mamba in Africa the guy was taking all the precautions possible. Dude was sweating bullets. Needless to say he did not try bringing the snake anywhere near him leave alone his face.
Hence many of these herpetologists like Irwin (and performers like the poor chap who bought the farm) know what they are dealing with. They know their snakes and they know how far they can push them and what they can get away with (unlike, sadly, many amateur wannabees who buy snakes from shops without knowing what they are getting themselves into). However the problem with the experts arises when they mistakenly push the envelop too far. I know a kid back home who was tagged by one of his pet snakes, a puff adder, and he died an excrutiatingly painful death (the venom of the puff adder is a cytotoxin/hemotoxin cocktail that effectively destroys your tissue and messes up your blood chemistry. Let's say it is an incredibly horrible way to die, both visually and in terms of pain. I'd personally take a mamba or cobra any day since death from a mamba is much faster, and the neurotoxic venom takes out the central nervous system hence making death virtually painless).
This dude probably thought he had everything in check. He dropped his guard when he shouldn't have and was tagged. The speed of death probably means he was tagged smack on or just adjacent to a blood vessel that made the spread of venom much faster.
And yes, no matter how careful Steve Irwin is what happened to this dude can easily happen to him. It actually might. For example he may decide to lift a normally docile Fierce snake and put it next to his face, and then light might be reflected off his camera man's video lens and the snake might panic and strike. A bite to the face is basically a one-way ticket to Valhalla!
This snake 'champion' basically rolled the dice as he had hundreds of times before. However these time he rolled snake eyes and got clocked out. Not everyone can be lucky all the time, especially when you are dealing with venomous snakes than only need to be lucky once.
No need to apologize. Thanks for a very informative post.
Some contests, you can't afford to lose
That almost seems like our war against terrorists! No matter how many times we win we cannot afford to lose. Not even once. Your post was deep.
Anyways, this is what happens when a person goes mano-a-mano with a Puff Adder.
Local Affects: Pain and swelling: onset almost immediately after bite Blistering, bleb formation Hemorrhagic edema Tissue necrosis: onset usually days after bite Ecchymosis
Cardiovascular: Severe Hypotension: onset immediately Cardiac arrythmias: Tachycardia Prolonged QT intervals Supraventricular tachycardia Inverted T waves Cardiac arrest
Hematological: Coagulation defects Spontaneous bleeding: Mucosal bleeding Hematemesis Epistasis Ecchymoses/petechiae Gastrointestinal bleeding Internal hemorrhage Hemolysis
Pulmonary Pulmonary edema Tachypnea Dyspnea
Renal/Urinary Hematuria Hemoglobinuria Myoglobinuria Renal failure
General: Nausea/Emesis Fever Abdominal pain Regional Lymphadenopathy
Then you die!
By the way here is a post i placed on another thread some months ago. Basically i was just coming up with a fictional account of what might happen when some pimply-faced kid orders an exotic reptile, like a black mamba, from mail-order shops (like dragonFarms that was closed down due to some of the stuff they used to sell). Basically i was just writing a possible scenario ....and with black mambas it is really possible.
The thing is most people are so enwrapped with acquiring an exotic snake that they never think about getting some anti-venin. Furthermore it is much cheaper to buy a green mamba, boomslang, cape cobra (the most venomous cobra)or similar exotic snakes than it is to by polyvalent anti-venin ......meaning if you are bitten by one chances are you will be dead since your average US hospital may be able to get rattlesnake antivenin but what would they do about cape cobra serum? By the time they export it from S.Africa or Kenya (the 2 places where you can get supplies of such antivenin that you can be SURE will work and are not some scam) the person is already dead due to the potency of the venom.
By the way through companies like Dragon Farms one can purchase a lethal exotic for less than 300 dollars. And what do they do? Plug the poor snake in a fish-tank with some sand and dried grass in the corner, and feed it dead mice once a week.
Take Joe Schmo! He bought a mamba a month ago ....a nice adult mamba.....from one of the many internet sites that deal with exotic reptiles. He has been taking good care of the mamba, and taking all the necessary precautions. Actually it seems the snake 'trusts' him since it does not react as it did before when he would come near the cage. Thus tonight he decides instead of dropping the mouse through the snake-proof slip-box he will open the top of the tank just a wee-bit and put it in hiumself. After all the snake seems placid, and after a month it must 'know' him and 'tust' him since he feeds it and makes sure the tank is warm and cosy!
Now, Joe Schmo will open the top of the fishtank one day to feed the mamba .....just a crack .....but the mamba will be waiting for him. It will lunge forward and Joe will experience what is known as the 'kiss' (mamba fangs are such that it really does not need to open its mouth wide ....it almost seems like a kiss or a light brush). Joe would feel no pain as the mamba strikes at him repeatedly on his arm, chest, neck, and face as it rushes past him (and away from the cage). Chances are like most black mamba victims Joe might even think the snake didn't bite him because of the sheer speed and lack of pain associated with the incident (now, if a viper bit you you would know).
Joe will probably start sweating and he tries to put some distance between himself and the mamba (which by now has gone off to some dark corner or Joe's room) .....however the increased adrenalin and stress in Joe means his heart is pumping faster, and hence the prodigious amounts of venom the mamba injected into him are moving at a much faster rate! Joe feels slightly dizzy, and his peripheral vision starts to blur .....then his mouth becomes dry as his salivary glands stop working. But he thinks it is just fear.
At this point he gets out of the room, and locks it to ensure the mamba does not 'escape.' He then strips his clothing off and gives himself a thorough check all over to see if the snake bit him, or if the snake is still crawling up his back (the reason he thinks that is the neurotoxic venom has already started making him get delusional).
He starts panting ......hard!
Not because he is doing anythign strenous but because the neurotoxic venom is affecting his central nervous system, systematically shutting it down! His eyes are droopy, and when he tries to speak to his dear aunt Martha (another delusion) he discovers he speech is slurred and seems to come from afar. His lips are trembling and his hands shaking. He tries to call 9-11 but he cannot remember all the digits ............he falls to the floor as the room starts to whirl faster than a whirling dervish!
Breathing is much harder now .......Joe starts to panic ....making the venom take effect faster! He is suffocating as the venom paralyses the intercostal muscles that make his diaphragm work .......now he cannot breath!
In less than 30 minute Joe is dead es ........the same death as someone who drowned!
3 hours later his girlfriend comes home to find Joe Schmo lying on the floor, clutching at the small crucifix he always wore around his neck, and having scribbled something on a piece of paper that read; "Aunt Martha is a vampire" (delusions again). She calls 9-11 and 20 minutes later the apartment is awash with cops and paramedics ....but Joe is long dead ....he was dead hours before she got home.
They go to his bedroom, flick on the switch, and notice nothing but an empty fish-tank and the curtains flapping as the cold air streams in from a tiny gap in the window.
The next morning Joe's neighbor, let's call him Mr Doe, goes to his car cursing at the fact he spilt his morning coffee all over his shirt (and the fact his wife kept nagging him about an incident over at Joe's). He heads to his car, yells for his wife and 2 kids to hurry up or he will be late, and waits for them with unabated fury written upon his face! After yelling at them some more once they arive they all get inside the car, but it refuses to start! After a few more tries Mr Doe steps out, kicks the car (spraining his ankle in the process) and tells little Kevin to pull the lever that pops the hood. Mr Doe lifts the hood to find 9 feet of tensile-steel strength serpent rising up from the engine block ......under other circumstances MR Doe might have even called the serpent gorgeous because it sure looked majestic under the dawning sun. The beautiful beast rises up above Mr Doe's head, delivering 3 rapid strikes as it does so. Mrs Doe notices te movement and the animal part of her hind-brain instinctively senses something is amiss, and thus she shrieks!
The mamba, like all snakes, have no real ears .,....but they can detect vibration quite well! Hence the mamba moves fast, very fast ......raising itself to the hegith of an adult's chest off the ground ....towards the source of the vibration. The missus and her two kids find themselves cramped inside a honda civic with 9 feet of vicious malevolent terror as the mamba works its dark magic on them before rapidly escaping from the garage!
Sadly the Does never had a chance against the mamba they so rudely awaked from its slumber ....for you see, all the snake wanted was to find a warm place to spend the night, and the relatively warmed engine block had been perfect for the last 5 hours until Mr Doe had popped the hood open that morning!
Now, the mamba heads into the morning Michigan sun, through the Doe's backyard, across the pond (a swimming mamba is the most gorgeous thing), and into St. Mary's Preparatory School. School started 3 weeks ago and the whole yard is chock-full of screaming yelling youngsters! Pesky Bob notices the flowing snake (and mamba's do not move.....they seem to flow like viscous mercury) and shouts 'snake snake!'
A crowd of 20 kids rapidly surround the snake .....which slowly raises itself up a good 6 feet ....taller than any of the kids ....taller than any adult within a 900 foot radius! It doesn't hiss, only flickers its tongue once, almost as if its checking to see whether it has sufficient venom to do the job at hand.
That afternoon the local news and state news is reporting a weird incident at a Michigan catholic school where 25 kids for some reason all died of suffocation. Although authorities are not sure why they think it might be a ruptured gas line or an ammonia spill from a passing train since there is a railway track nearby and everyday trains carrying various types of chemical agents pass.
Unknown to them the female black mamba is in a small cove of trees, totally oblivious to everything as it prepares to lay its young. You see, when Joe Schmo bought the mamba through the internet last month he never knew it had been impregnated while in the mamba pen over at the place where he bought it. In a few days a clutch of 27 little mambas, each less than 2 inches long but still having enough venom to kill several adults, are wriggling around in the wood cove. There are many lizards and other small critters for them to feast on, and life is simple. Winter is still some months away hence they can grow to be robust enough to survive the cold once it comes.
The brood and their mom have just become the apex predators in that little par of michigan.
Now, the above story may seem a stretch ...but it is not! There are hundreds of dangerous exotics in the US, including dozens of black, green and Jameson's Mambas! People make mistakes, it just takes the right mistake at the wrong time with the wrong snake and a serious situation could be at hand. By the way, the mamba killing 20 kids is not just possible but it has happened.
Actually in South Africa there is a pretty little snake called the Skaapsketer. It is mildly venomous, very lithe and fast, and generally harmless. However 'Skaapsketer' is Afrikaan for 'sheep sticker' ....because the boers used to think the little snake was responsible for flocks of sheep being found dead every now and then. What was discovered is the sheep used to be killed by straying into the path of an angry mamba that proceeded to bite ten or so (and with mambas ten deaths rapidly get exaggerated to 50).
There is one case i know of where a mamba killed 3 cattle, and the herd's men came up with sticks and 9 of them and their dog were all bitten and killed.
Anyways one day some pimply-faced 16 year old kid with hair-palms will make a major faux pas with his 'pet' mamba (or krait, cobra, taipan, bushmaster etc etc etc) and his whole family shall regret it .....and any medic or cop who comes into that house not knowing exactly what happened.
So named because the inside of it's mouth - the last thing you see before you check out - is black.
The Black Mamba is what people who fear snakes have nightmares about, a full on monster.
Huge, fast, very very strong, venomous, and yes, it really IS trying to kill you.