Thiruvananthapuram: One of Kerala’s better-known snake-handlers died on Monday after being bitten by a cobra he had caught over the weekend.
Muthupalakkal Biju (43), who hailed from Mukkada near Erumely in Kottayam district, had helped catch a deadly spectacled cobra from near Ranni on Saturday after being summoned by local residents and forest department officials.
By the time he reached the spot, the snake had vanished under the earth. An earth-mover was pressed into service to dig up the ground, and the snake subsequently surfaced. Biju quickly managed to catch it and safely put it into a sack.
The snake had been injured slightly during the operation and was to be given medical treatment. However, while taking the snake out of the sack on Monday, in the presence of a veterinary doctor and forest department officials, the eight-foot cobra bit Biju on both his hands.
In the absence of antivenom in neighbouring hospitals, Biju was rushed to the Kottayam Medical College where he succumbed to the effects of the venomous bite. He leaves behind his wife, two daughters and a son.
Biju, who did odd jobs for a living, had endeared himself to the local community by rushing to help any family threatened by snakes.
He was also known for his adventurous feats in catching deadly snakes in the most challenging terrains and situations. One of these occasions was when he dropped 7.6 metres into a well in Elangulam, also in Kottayam, to catch a cobra.