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Friday, 13 July 2018 | MYT 7:20 AM

Chinese woman left in coma after being bitten by poisonous snake she bought online

A 21-year-old woman is in a coma and on life support in a hospital in northwest China after she was bitten by a poisonous snake she is thought to have bought online, local media reported on Thursday.

The woman, identified only by the pseudonym Xiaofang, was bitten on her finger at her home in Weinan city in Shaanxi province on Monday, according to China Business Report.

The report suggested the woman had been keeping the many-banded krait a highly venomous species found in much of central and southern China and Southeast Asia, as a pet

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The woman’s parents told the newspaper that their daughter had called for help after being bitten and she reported feeling dizzy and nauseous about an hour later.

They took her to a local hospital but she soon lapsed into a coma.

The hospital did not have any supplies of antivenin to treat bites from the many-banded krait, which has the scientific name Bungarus multicinctus, because the species is not common in the region. This meant she was not given a shot of the antidote until the following evening.

On Tuesday the woman’s parents had reported to police that the snake was missing and later that day a dead snake – subsequently confirmed to be a many-banded krait – was found a short distance from the family’s home.

Her family said chat logs from her phone suggested that she had bought the snake via an online shopping platform, but did not have any further information about the seller or how Xiaofang had taken delivery of the snake.

Many-banded kraits are on a list of protected rare and endangered species in China, and it is illegal to hurt or sell the creatures.

However with so little information to go on – even the name of the platform used to buy the snake remains unknown – there is little the police can do at present.

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The report added the records indicated that the seller had informed Xiaofang that the creature was venomous.

Although had told the seller that she planned to use it to make “snake wine”, a traditional Chinese medicine made by leaving the animals to ferment in alcohol, her parents said she had apparently had second thoughts and had been keeping the animal as a pet.

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