Yang Hong-chang, a snake expert who has spent 40 years studying cobras, told reporters all reptiles can function for up to an hour after losing body parts, or even their entire body.
A chef preparing a meal of cobra flesh has died after the snake bit him some 20 minutes after the reptile’s head had been cut off.
The bizarre incident took place in Foshan, Guangdong province, in southern China, as chef Peng Fan was preparing a rare delicacy with an Indochinese spitting cobra.
When the cook went to toss the serpent’s severed head into the trash, the snake bit him, injecting him with its neurotoxic venom.
Local police say Peng died at the hospital before he could be given life-saving antivenin.
Chinese media quoted diners at Feng’s restaurant who suspected there was a problem when they heard screams emanate from the kitchen.
“We were in the restaurant having a meal for my wife’s birthday when suddenly there was a lot of commotion,” recounted restaurant guest Lin Sun, 44, who was dining with his wife Su at the time.
“We did not know what was happening but could hear screams coming from the kitchen.