Man Nearly Loses Vital Organ After Devastating Snake Bite

A man was bitten by a snake in a very unfortunate place. The venom from the attack caused rot to the region and he needed plastic surgery

By Doug Norrie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old


There are snake bits, there are bad snake bites, and there are devastating snake bites. This next story most definitely falls into the latter group though it stops short of the final group which you really don’t want to read about. It involves a man, a toilet, a snake, a vital organ, the word “rot”, a trip to the emergency room, and a bunch of plastic surgeons trying to figure out what comes next. Showing up in the latest issue of Urology Case Reports (uh-oh) and coming via ScienceDirect, a man was bitten by a snake on his penis, and the after-effects were definitely something you wouldn’t wish on your wrist enemy. 

Basically, it all started innocently enough. A 47-year-old man from the Netherlands was visiting South Africa when he sat down on a toilet for a little relief. Then a cobra snake appeared and took a little umbrage with where the guy was plopped. The retaliation involved the snake biting into the man’s penis. After somehow not dying from the mere shock of it all, the dude was rushed to the hospital for immediate treatment. It is here the Urology Case Reports details some of the immediate effects which included “deep purple” swelling to his “penis and scrotum”. They also said that he puked. Ok, that makes sense, a snake just bit down on in a most unfortunate place

But then the report goes on to describe another effect of “scrotal necrosis”. This is where things start to get pretty rough. It appears this snake bite caused the onset of gangrene to his scrotal region. This can lead to “sloughing of tissue”. This is a nice medical way to say that the skin is about to die and fall off. Dead cells on the skin will begin to peel away if not treated properly. After the immediate effects of the snake bite had passed, it was time to get to work repairing the skin that had suffered. 


A week and a trip back to the Netherlands later, the surgeons came in to do their work. This involved plastic surgery to the region to graft on new skin. Considering the old stuff had basically rotted off, this was likely a necessary move. One reason this became such a big deal to the good folks over at Urology Case Reports was that this was their first reported case of scrotal necrosis from a snake bite to this region. So I guess bully to them in that respect. But obviously, this is a brutal story, one that will maybe make you think twice about sitting down on a toilet anywhere the snouted cobra might be around. 

The snouted cobra is native to South Africa and is considered one of the more venomous snakes around. If the cobra bite isn’t treated properly it can result in extreme pain at best, and death at worst. In this way, the victim, in this case, was “lucky” to get out with just a little penis plastic surgery before the whole thing rotted off. That would have definitely been another kind of worst-case scenario. 

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