‘Snake-handling celebrity’ dies of cobra bite

A Malaysian man who became famous for his snake-handling skills has died after being bitten by a cobra.

Abu Zarin Hussin, a firefighter, first shot to fame after British tabloids published a story incorrectly identifying him as a Thai man who’d allegedly married his pet snake.

Mr Hussin had trained other firefighters on how to handle snakes.

But he was admitted to hospital on Monday after being bitten a cobra during a snake-catching operation.

According to local news outlet The Star, the 33-year-old who lived in the state of Pahang, often taught other firemen how to identify different snake species and ways to capture them without having to kill.He had also participated in television programme Asia’s Got Talent, where he pulled off the daring act of “kissing” a snake.

In 2016, a story was published in Thai media – and later in several UK tabloids – naming Mr Hussin as a Thai man who’d married a snake, believing it to be his “reincarnated girlfriend”.

The stories used pictures from Mr Hussin’s social media which showed him playfully spending time with snakes.

Mr Hussin, who kept four snakes at home to better understand their behaviour, told reporters: “They used my photos and started making up stories, saying that I married a snake.”

He later told the BBC he was “very disappointed” by the fake reports.

Source: BBC