21/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 13:02

West Midlands Safari Park snake handler bitten by cobra

Category: England

Published: 20th Aug 2012 11:41:17

A snake handler at West Midlands Safari Park had to be airlifted to hospital after being bitten by a venomous snake.

Keeper Mark O'Shea is said to be in a "stable condition" after the bite by a king cobra on Sunday afternoon.

Director Bob Lawrence said Mr O'Shea, who has presented TV shows and written books on reptiles, was bitten as he tried to feed the snake.

He said that, although king cobras were one of the most venomous snakes, it had only been "a minor nip".

Mr Lawrence said he hoped Mr O'Shea, from Telford, in Shropshire, would leave hospital within the next day.

Venom from a king cobra can kill animals up to the size of an elephant if it enters their bloodstream.

Mr O'Shea has previously presented TV programmes on reptiles for Channel 4, the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

He has also written several books on the creatures.

Mr Lawrence said the safari park, in Bewdley, Worcestershire, stored anti-venom for all of its poisonous animals and routinely rehearsed such situations with local hospitals.

He added: "It is very, very rare that these things ever happen.

"Working with animals like this always carries hazards with it, but we have safety measures in place."

He said Mr O'Shea had been with another member of staff when he was bitten by the 14-year-old female snake, called Sleeping Beauty, which has been at the safari park for 10 years.

Mr Lawrence added that a full investigation would be carried out into the incident.

He said: "You can't blame the snake for what happened - it's not its fault."

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said Mr O'Shea had already received "excellent first aid" from staff who immobilised his leg and had anti-venom ready to administer if needed.

The ambulance service said: "Due to the fact the venom can be lethal if it enters the bloodstream, the man was airlifted to hospital as a precaution."

Medics at the hospital were alerted ahead of Mr O'Shea's arrival.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. West Midlands Safari Park snake handler bitten by cobra [Online] (Updated 20th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1447077/West-Midlands-Safari-Park-snake-handler-bitten-by-cobra [Accessed 21st Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Ukraine crisis: Russia plans Crimea casino boom

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented a draft law to create a gambling zone in Crimea, now that the Kremlin has declared the Ukrainian territory part of Russia.
  • Cornish Pirates: Paver relishes coaching role despite Bedford loss

    Cornish Pirates prop Alan Paver says he enjoyed his first taste of coaching the side in their 48-36 loss at Bedford.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Man critically injured in Liverpool city centre attack

    A 30-year-old man has been left in a critical condition after he was attacked with a "sharp object" by a gang in Liverpool city centre.
  • Skin cancer rates 'surge since 1970s'

    The incidence of the most serious skin cancer in Great Britain is now five times higher than it was in the 1970s, figures show.
  • Scottish independence: CBI head defends Electoral Commission move

    The head of the CBI has said the business organisation does not think the economic case for Scottish independence has been made.