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Snake expert in agony after Swiss viper bite

Published: 06 Jul 2012 12:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Jul 2012 12:28 GMT+02:00

A reptile specialist in Fribourg was rushed to hospital after being bitten by a snake he was displaying for a team of journalists in the Neirivue region.

The 53-year-old doctor was showing off an aspic viper to a reporter and a photographer conducting research into snakes in the region on Thursday, cantonal police said.

The expert was giving the pair information about the snake when it attacked him, police said.

The mishap occurred during a photo shoot while the doctor was holding the 80-centimetre viper in his hands.
 
The snake suddenly lunged after an insect on the man’s hand.

The surprised doctor partly let go of the snake and it bit him on the hand.

The expert returned the snake to the rocky area where it was found, but upon his return he went into convulsions, police said.

The journalists telephoned for help from emergency services who provided medical aid on the spot before he was transported by helicopter to hospital for further treatment.

The man’s life was not believed to be in danger.

Bites from the aspic viper, also known as the European asp, are painful and can be fatal if left untreated.

One species of the snake is classed as critically endangered in Switzerland.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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