A man is fighting for his life after he tried to kiss a cobra and was bitten in the face. A video posted on Twitter by AH Siddiqui shows the man trying to kiss the cobra. The man had apparently just rescued the snake, and as he tried to kiss the snake, it jumped and bit him in his mouth. The snake slithered away, and others tried to catch the animal.

 

The Twitter video says that the man was “a reptile expert.” Cobras are highly venomous snakes and are considered to be one of the deadliest in the world.

Romulus Whitaker, an India-based herpetologist of the Madras Crocodile Bank, works to educate villagers on snakebites. Whitaker told Newsweek, “Sadly this kind of idiotic behavior is common here. There are literally thousands of snake ‘rescuers’ in India, some very serious and performing a valuable service, removing snakes from houses and gardens and releasing them elsewhere away from people.”

“But others, like this dude, are publicity hungry and do something crazy like free-handling the snake, putting it around their neck, or kissing it. We know of at least 25 of them fatally bitten over the last few years. Snakes are scared to death of humans and only bite in self-defense.”

When someone gets bitten by a snake, they need a large amount of antivenom. In rural areas, it can be hard to get fast access to this medication.

“About 50,000 people die every year due to snakebites in India. Most cases don’t get treated in hospitals as the victims are taken to traditional healers for treatment. Proper prevention methods and effective treatments can reduce the mortality. Also, we need to make people aware about snakebites. This guy is battling for his life in a hospital. He seems to be not an expert who could understand the snake and its behavior,” Whitaker said.

With contemporary society’s fixation on gaining popularity on social media, people often take drastic measures to gain views and “likes” across various websites. This could be tolerable if not for the fact that many of these people exploit animals to reach a sense of pseudo-celeb status. It is never ok to use an animal for entertainment.

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