Page 3 Profile, Mark O'Shea, reptile expert


Has he discovered a new type of snake?

Unfortunately not. Even more unfortunately, he has just been bitten by a rather big one. O'Shea was feeding the King Cobra a rat at West Midland Safari Park on Sunday when the 10-foot serpent sunk its teeth into his leg. King Cobras are one of the deadliest snakes around – the venom of one bite can kill an elephant – so it was a pretty hairy moment for the experienced reptile handler.

Sounds like a bad day at the office

Yes, but 56-year-old O'Shea is not known for shying away from danger. Over the past 30 years the herpetologist (amphibian and reptile expert) and TV presenter has gone on over 60 expeditions around the world, seeking out many rare, and lethal, reptiles. He is very well respected in his field and has written extensively on snakes and their venom. When West Midland Safari's reptile house was first set up in 1987, it was mostly stocked with specimens from his own personal collection and, in 2009, it was renamed after the man himself.

Was this his first big bite?

Far from it. In 1993 he almost died after being bitten by a canebrake rattlesnake in the very same Safari Park. He spent nine days in hospital and was still recovering fully a year later. Since then he has had more than his fair share of bites from a wide range of lizards, snakes and insects.

Will he survive?

Thanks to the quick work of the on-site first aid team, O'Shea was rapidly treated with anti-venom. They also immobilised his leg preventing the poison from spreading through his blood stream and Midlands Air Ambulance then ferried him to hospital to recover.

He went straight back to the wildlife park after being discharged yesterday morning.

Suggested Topics
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits