The small but deadly Boomslang injects a venom into its victims that is more potent than that of a cobra
A scientist who was bitten by a deadly snake shrugged off medical help and instead wrote down the symptoms in a diary up until moments before his death just hours later, a video has revealed.
Karl P. Schmidt had lifted the reptile up during his research work, in the Field Museum in Chicago on 25 September 1957, and was chatting to colleague about the slim chances of it being of the killer Boomslang species.
In the midst of the discussion the snake sank its two rear fangs into his left thumb before Mr Schmidt wrenched it away.
He was unaware the venom was from a deadly Boomslang, and merely went about his day while jotting down the symptoms he suffered in a diary out of curiosity.
He recorded his illnesses – which started with vomiting and nausea before he eventually suffocated on his own blood after bleeding in most of his major organs.
His notes have been shared by an excellent video from Science Friday, which narrates Mr Schmidt’s notebook entries after the moment he inspected the snake..
Mr Schmidt wrote:
I was discussing the possibility of it being a Boomslang when I took it without thinking of any precaution, and it promptly bit me on the left thumb.
The punctures bled freely and I sucked them vigorously.
The mouth (of the snake) was wide open, and it bit me with the rear fangs only.
Later, he added:
Strong chill and shaking, followed by fever.
Bleeding of mucus membranes in the mouth, apparently mostly from gums.
The next morning after breakfast he said the problem continued, and he was now also bleeding from his nose.
The physician struggled on until lunch when he vomited and eventually agreed that his colleagues could call a doctor – but he was “drowned in sweat” now and was “unable to talk or answer” him.
The medic tried to resuscitate him after he fell unconscious. He was transported to hospital where he died an hour later.
An autopsy found Mr Schmidt had died from “venom caused by a snake bite”.
It was a front-page story the next day in the Chicago Daily Tribune, which featured the headline ‘Diary Of Snake Bite Death’.