Famed snake handler hospitalized with bite

Aug. 21, 2012 at 11:38 AM

BEWDLEY, England, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Officials at a British zoo said a reptile expert famous for his TV appearances was airlifted to a hospital after being bitten by a king cobra.

The West Midland Safari Park, near Bewdley, England, said Mark O'Shea, 56, was in stable condition Monday at Worcestershire Royal Hospital after being bitten Sunday by the king cobra, considered one of the world's deadliest snakes, The Sun reported Tuesday.

O'Shea, host of "O'Shea's Dangerous Reptiles" on Channel 4, serves as consultant curator of reptiles for the zoo.

Bob Lawrence, director of the zoo, said officials are hoping O'Shea will be released from the hospital within the next few days.

"It is very, very rare that these things ever happen," he said. "Working with animals like this always carries hazards with it, but we have safety measures in place."

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