Ali Iyoob, a resident of Orange County, North Carolina, was admitted to a local hospital in a critical condition after the man was bitten by his pet king cobra, the News & Observer reports.
Iyoob was admitted to the UNC Hospitals on Tuesday after EMS workers responded to an emergency 911 call, which told them about Iyoob being bitten by the venomous snake. Iyoob was picked up by emergency responders on N.C. 54 west of Carrboro. After administering first aid, he was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for further treatment, the report adds.
According to UNC Hospitals spokesman Tom Hughes, Iyoob has been confirmed bitten by a cobra and that the best possible treatment is being given to him. He refused to divulge any further information. It is currently not known how Iyoob was bitten by the king cobra, and if he was accompanied by someone when the incident happened.
Meanwhile, officials from the Orange County Animal Services are already investigating the incident. They also confirmed that Iyoob was in possession of other snakes — many of them venomous. These included several other cobra species. In a statement issued by the Animal Services Department, they stated that it is working with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Zoological Park to determine if there is a violation of state law. The statement adds the following.
“If a violation is confirmed, Animal Services will coordinate with those organizations to identify, seize, and care for the reptiles. If no state violation is present, Animal Services will work internally to devise the best plan for the removal of the snakes.”
Officially, residents living in Orange County are bound by the county rules that prohibit the keeping of venomous or constricting snakes in the region.
The statement also affirms that there is no risk to the general public following the incident.
“Information received at this time indicates that all of the reptiles inside the residence have been secured and will be removed safely as soon as is possible given statutory and legal requirements.”
Meanwhile, Iyoob’s Facebook profile lists him as a UNC Student who majored in biology. According to reports, he left the university in 2015 and was currently working as a beekeeper with a Luxembourg-based laboratory services company — Eurofins Scientific.
Iyoob was quite active on Facebook which is replete with several posts that show his love and zeal for wildlife and snakes. In fact, his Facebook headline itself read as follows.
“I go to work and play with bees then come home and play with snakes.”
While it is already been reported that Iyoob was bitten by his king cobra, speculation is still on if it was the the king cobra or one of the other cobra species that had bitten him.
King cobras are the world’s largest venomous snake species. While not known to be very aggressive, its size and the amount of venom it injects more than makes up for its docile nature. A king cobra can exceed 18 feet in length and are known to exclusively dine on other snakes. In fact, their diet often include other venomous snakes — including other cobra species and sometimes even smaller pythons. King cobras are native to India and Southeast Asia, where they are known to inhabit tropical rainforests. King cobras are also known for their long lifespan, and many specimens have been known to be over 20-years-old.
This is not the first time we have heard of a cobra biting a human in the U.S. A few months ago, we had reported a similar incident from Texas. More recently, an Indonesian pop star, Irma Bule, was killed on stage when she was bitten by a king cobra in the midst of an on-stage act.