Snake Swallower Dies in Stunt Gone Wrong After Viper Bites Tongue

by Clayton Edwards

“Get that out of your mouth,” said every mother in the history of humanity. One would-be snake swallower completely ignored that universal advice. Footage shows a 55-year old watermelon farmer attempting to swallow a small viper. Before he could finish his stunt, the snake bit his tongue. Later that day, he died of an allergic reaction.

According to The Daily Mail, the amateur snake swallower’s fatal failure took place in the Astrakhan region of Russia. He tried to put the small steppe viper in his mouth as a trick to entertain his friends. This just goes to show that some things are universal. We all have, or had, that one friend who would go the extra mile to get a laugh out of their pals. This guy just wanted to brighten his co-workers’ day. Watch the video of the stunt below.

Now, I don’t speak the language. However, I think we can all decipher what the unnamed snake swallower is saying. It’s probably something along the lines of, “Hey y’all! Come here. Watch this! No, no it’s cool. I got this. Just watch.”

The Daily Mail reported that the video shows the man’s third attempt at swallowing the viper. He was able to get the snake farther into his throat the first two times. However, the small steppe viper was apparently tired of being a snake swallower’s assistant and bit his tongue. In the video, the bite doesn’t look like a big deal. He acts like it hurt a little, but didn’t seem too alarmed.

The Would-Be Snake Swallower Should Have Been Fine

There’s a good reason why the amateur snake swallower didn’t seem too worried about the bite. Steppe vipers aren’t usually dangerous to people. They’re venomous snakes. However, they usually only kill insects and other very small animals. Additionally, swallowing snakes is a popular trick among agricultural workers in the area. In short, the stunt wasn’t as dangerous as it looks.

The melon farmer-turned snake swallower didn’t really die from the snake’s venom. A severe allergic reaction to that venom is what did him in. He experienced a reaction much like someone with a severe allergy to bees would to a sting. Usually, those reactions are best treated on the spot with an epinephrine shot or Epi-pen.

 A few hours after the incident, he went to the hospital. Once there, medical personnel diagnosed him with Quincke’s edema. That condition is characterized by “localized swelling of the deeper layers of the skin and fatty tissues beneath the skin,” according to MedicineNet. In short, the man’s tongue, uvula, and throat swelled. According to the report from a local news source quoted by The Daily Mail, “His tongue could barely fit in his mount and he was left gasping for breath.”

Doctors did all they could to save him. Unfortunately, it was too late. Our hearts go out to his friends and family. All he wanted to do was make the workday a little more fun.