Snake man minutes from death in Shanghai

09:34, August 09, 2010      

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A visitor to Shanghai is lucky to be alive after being bitten by a deadly snake in the city.

The Sichuan Province native, Guo Yupeng, was said to be near death when he arrived at Longhua Hospital and last night he was still in intensive care.

His father, Guo Ziyu, who rushed to Shanghai to tend him, said: "I thought he was coming to Shanghai to visit the World Expo. I didn't expect that he was looking for snakes."

But Guo Yupeng, 27, had an ambition to become a snake breeder and was looking for snakes to take back to his hometown.

He was bitten on the finger by a narrow-banded krait when trying to handle it at an aquatic products market on Tongchuan Road on Saturday morning.

With three bites to his left forefinger, he went to Huashan Hospital and called a friend of his in the city. He was conscious at that time but he had become paralyzed and had great difficulty breathing by the time his friend arrived two hours later.

When Guo was transferred to Longhua Hospital, which is experienced in dealing with snake bites, he had fallen into a coma and was showing weak signs of life. Doctors said he would have died if he had reached the hospital just half an hour later.

After hours of treatments and detoxification, his life was saved and he is now on a life support machine.

His life is no longer in danger. Doctors said he might gain consciousness in three to five days but would probably need further treatment.

The snake Guo Yupeng was trying to handle, also known as the Taiwanese banded krait, produces a powerful poisonous toxin and just one bite can kill.

He was planning to raise snakes to make money to support his family in Jiange County, Guangyuan City of Sichuan.

He was born into a poor rural family. His mother is a long-term invalid and his father a migrant construction worker in Beijing. The family borrowed more than 30,000 yuan (US$4,432) to send him to university and still owe 15,000 yuan. Guo Yupeng also had a younger brother who is still a student.

"He is very considerate and is always thinking about helping lift the burden on the family," said his father.

Guo Yupeng was taken with the idea of raising poisonous snakes, which he believed could be sold at a high price as a popular food. He bought a small piece of land to raise them and visited many breeders across the country to learn how.

"I support his decision to start up his own business. But I know that everything should be carried out one step by another. He is too much eager for quick success and instant benefit," said the father.



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