Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2004 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

Snake Man
2004 Darwin Award Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin

The mamba's bite was described by Jack, of Jack Seale's Snake and Animal Park near Johannesburg, as "a pure neurotoxin, it gives you a buzz." The victim becomes lightheaded, tingly and warm. "It's a lovely feeling," says Seale. A single bite can deliver 400 milligrams of paralyzing venom; a mere 10 milligrams can be fatal to a human. When Seale was bitten, his treatment consisted of injections of antivenin, cortisone, and adrenalin, which helped him survive long enough to be hooked up to a heart-lung machine. After a week of dialysis and blood transfusions, he could finally wiggle a single finger. ("Black Mamba!" International Wildlife, Nov/Dec 1996.

(19 March 2004, Si Sa Ket Province, Thailand) During his snake-handling performance, Boonreung the "Snake Man" was bitten on the right elbow by a deadly mamba. While a lesser mortal might have rushed to a doctor for a dose of antivenin, the daring 34-year-old had his own treatment method: he downed a shot of whiskey and some herbal medicine. But alcohol and herbs are not generally recognized as effective against snake bites. It was on with the show -- until paralysis gradually took hold, and he collapsed.

At this point, he was unable to speak, and thus raised no objections as bystanders took him to Praibung Hospital. But it was too late. The poison had spread throughout his body, and he died the same day. Ironically, Boonreung is immortalized in the Guinness Book of World Records for having spent seven days in a roomful of venomous snakes in 1998.

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Submitted by: Dan Gutman
Reference: AP Asia

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