Snake farm manager dies from black mamba bite

A black mamba snake. (Craig Nieuwenhuizen, Gallo Images, Foto24, file)
A black mamba snake. (Craig Nieuwenhuizen, Gallo Images, Foto24, file)

A 26-year-old snake farm manager died doing what he loved most when he was bitten by a black mamba.

The snake's fang punctured Ryan Soobrayan's finger while he was trying to extract its venom on Saturday, a statement from his employers at African Reptiles and Venom stated.

"He had a severe anaphylactic reaction from the mamba venom. His untimely demise was not due to the bite but as a result of anaphylaxis."

Johan Marais, a herpetologist at the African Snakebite Institute, explained that it usually took between three and 16 hours to die from a black mamba snakebite.

"You need to get to hospital as quickly as possible because black mambas have neurotoxic venom, which affects the breathing," Marais said.

"At the hospital, you will receive assisted breathing. They will put you on a ventilator and use CPR to revive you. Ryan was exposed to venom all the time. What's strange here, is that he did not die from the venom. His body went into shock or anaphylaxis."

READ: Where snakebites are deadliest

Symptoms include a numbness of the lips, slurred speech and progressive weakness. Large quantities of antivenom are required to treat the snake bite.

The black mamba is known to be the largest venomous snake in Africa and grows to the maximum length of 4.5m.

According to the African Snakebite Institute website, the black mamba has a reputation for being shy, but will not hesitate to strike repeatedly if threatened.

Soobrayan's fiancé Jacquelyn Sewcharan took to social media to express her grief.

"You always wanted to make an impact in the world my love. Look at what you have done - social media is going crazy with your heroism and they should," she wrote.

"You were the most amazing person I've ever known. I have no words to describe you, no words to say because nothing will ever be enough."

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