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Saturday, 17 March 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

‘Snake whisperer’ was friendly and dedicated

KUANTAN: Malaysian “snake whisperer” Abu Zarin Hussin was friendly and never stingy with information about his passion, said his closest friend Mohd Ikhwan Hafizi Ali.

Mohd Ikhwan, 30, said the renowned firefighter, who passed away after being bitten by a cobra, was always willing to share his vast knowledge about snakes.

He said Abu Zarin, 33, had the ability to make the people around him feel comfortable while conducting briefings and demonstrations.

“People would ask him for pictures and he never said no. When they asked him questions, he would answer as best as he could.

“It is a huge loss as we were very close,” he said, adding that he caught snakes with Abu Zarin while based in Temerloh as a firefighter for four years from 2014.

x: Abu Zarin Hussin has passed away after being bitten by a cobra.
Unique talent: Abu Zarin became a sensation after being featured on international Internet portals.

“I will never forget the memories and what he taught me about handling snakes,” he added.

They even responded to calls from villages that faced problems with snakes while off-duty, he said.

“There were times when we found ourselves in snakes’ nests while looking for them in residential areas. We were almost bitten many times,” he said.

Abu Zarin was bitten by a cobra at 7.54pm during an operation in Bentong on Monday and was taken to the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital. He passed away at about 12.40am yesterday.

Abu Zarin, who was based at the Temerloh fire station, became a sensation after he was featured on Internet portals around the world, including British tabloids The Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail.

The articles and pictures mistakenly identified him as a Thai man who had married his pet snake as he believed it was his dead girlfriend.

Slithery students: A file photo of Abu Zarin putting on a show with a pair of cobras by ‘teaching’ them how to read.
Slithery students: A file photo of Abu Zarin putting on a show with a pair of cobras by ‘teaching’ them how to read.

The images used were actually of Abu Zarin and his pet snake.

His talent in handling snakes even landed him a spot in the quarter-final of the television prog­ramme Asia’s Got Talent.

It is learnt that he had been on the receiving end of snake bites before. He was in a coma for two days due to a cobra bite in 2015.

His body was transported to his hometown in Kampung Per­matang Gading, Pasir Putih, Kelan­tan, and he was buried after Friday prayers.