Shropshire snake handler and TV star Mark O’Shea told how he survived being poisoned by one of the world’s most deadly snakes at a top Midlands tourist attraction.
Ten-foot-long King Cobra Sleeping Beauty sank her fangs into Mr O’Shea’s shoe yesterday when he was feeding her while working at West Midlands Safari Park near Bewdley.
Moments later Mr O’Shea, from Telford, was overcome with dizziness and felt his throat seize up as he gave a demonstration to more than 100 park visitors.
This afternoon he revealed the deadly poison had entered his body even though the snake’s bite did not break his skin.
Mr O’Shea was airlifted to Worcester Royal Hospital.
The 56-year-old, one of the world’s leading reptile experts, was allowed out of hospital this afternoon and went straight back to the park where he has worked for 25 years.
Mr O’Shea dismissed the incident as ‘a storm in a teacup’. He said: “I was feeding her a rat and she moved round it and struck at the next nearest thing which looked like a rat. That happened to be my shoe.
“She sank her fangs in and soaked my shoe and sock with venom but did not bite me. I have a sore on my toe and the poison must have seeped in through there.
“It is an occupational hazard for me.”