A German snake expert died after being bitten multiple times by a viper during a presentation aimed at helping people ease their fears of the scaly reptiles.
Dieter Zorn, a 53-year-old herpetologist, died of a heart attack minutes after he was bitten by an Aspic viper. Zorn was in southern France performing his “Reptile Show,” which teaches people how to overcome their fears of snakes, when he was bitten several times.
His co-host, Uschi Kallus, said that Zorn died from an “extremely rare allergic reaction” to the bite, even though emergency personnel administered a blood thinner. She said he wouldn’t have wanted the snake to be blamed for his death and added that the incident was “exceptionally uncommon.”
Zorn’s show encourages attendees to handle the reptiles so as to get past “unfounded” fears. A French newspaper reported “the audience, filled with curious people, almost saw him die” on stage.
The Aspic viper is a snake native to France, Switzerland, Spain and Italy. It can grow up to 20 inches in length and live in a variety of habitats