The severed head of a snake killed a well-respected chef in southern China. This chef, Peng Fan, was preparing a traditional snake soup dish using a spitting cobra for meat. After he chopped off the head of the snake, he let it sit for about 20 minutes. Fan then picked up the head and attempted to throw it in the trash bin.

Before he threw it in the bin, the snake attacked Fan and bit him on the arm. Fan died shortly afterwards due to the snake’s fast-acting venom.

This all took place in a restaurant in the southern Chinese city of Foshan, Guangdong Province. Guests at the restaurant said they heard loud screams from the cooking area. Medical authorities were called and brought an anti-venom serum with them. Unfortunately, the medical team didn’t arrive in time to save Fan’s life.

The police say this was just a freak accident and they don’t see any evidence of foul play. Snake experts who arrived on the scene told reporters that most reptiles can function at least one hour after being severed from their body. While the snake was “effectively dead” after being cut off from its body, it still has the potential for deadly reflexive action.

Snake soup is an expensive delicacy in many Asian countries. A few of these nations include Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. People who eat this dish say it is actually extremely healthy and tasty. Ancient Chinese medical books claim that drinking a bowl of snake soup can cure numerous ailments.