Snake Catcher Bitten by Cobra Still in ICU Four Days After Attack

A famous snake catcher in India who was rushed to hospital with a cobra bite is still in the ICU four days after the attack.

Vava Suresh was hospitalized on the evening of January 31 while catching a cobra found in the Kottayam district of Kerala. The cobra bit the snake catcher above his knee.

Cobras are highly venomous snakes native to India, southern China, and Southeast Asia. They are considered one of the deadliest snakes in the world. While its venom is not the most potent among all snake species, the amount administered in a single bite can be enough to kill 20 people.

Suresh is well known wildlife conservationist and snake expert in India. He made his name by saving snakes that have strayed into human-inhabited areas in Kerala. He is often likened to Australian conservationist Steve Irwin; 'The Crocodile Hunter'.

After the bite, Suresh suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was put on a ventilator.

Kottayam medical college superintendent at the hospital, T. K. Jayakumar, told The Hindustan Times that he has now been taken off the ventilator as he is breathing on his own and showing signs of improvement. He said he remains in the ICU ward.

He said that they will continue to monitor his progress over the next two days.

A video captured by a local villager captures the moment Suresh was bitten. It can be seen here.

In the cell phone footage, people are gathered around the snake catcher as holds the cobra by the tail. The Hindustan Times reported that the snake was been 10-foot long.

As Suresh attempts to put it into a bag, the snake then lunges at him and bites him above the knee. The onlookers scream in fright. Suresh drops the snake and it begins to slither away, further scaring the crowd.

However The Hindustan Times reported that he had managed to successfully capture the snake before being rushed to hospital.

The snake catcher is not new to hospitalizations. Doctors had previously warned him that snake antivenom may eventually have little impact on him due to the number of bites he has suffered.

A 2019 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found evidence that the hospital stays of patients who had been bitten by a snake, and were treated with repeated antivenom therapy, were significantly longer than those who just had a single does of antivenom.

Another incident in 2020 saw him fighting for his life on a ventilator for days after a pit viper bit him. The snake catcher has previously lost a finger to a cobra bite. Another snake bite has also caused him to loose the movement in his right wrist.

A stock photo shows a cobra, which is one of the deadliest snakes in the world. Cavan Images/Getty Images