An Indonesian singer has died after she was bitten by a cobra that was being used as a prop in her performance.
Irma Bule was bitten by the cobra on her thigh during a performance in a village in Karawang, West Java in Indonesia on Sunday. An eyewitness told Indonesian news that the 29-year-old singer was bitten after she stepped on the cobra’s tail during her second song.
It is believed that the singer thought the cobra was defanged, so she refused any help for the bite and continued to sing. Forty five minutes later and still performing, she began vomiting and having seizures. The singer was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Bule, who frequently performs with snakes and cobras, is a singer of Dangdut music, a genre of popular music based on traditional Indonesian folk music. Lydia Apririasari of the Tulala Snake Research Center told Rappler that dancing with snakes is very common in Indonesian villages. In the past, Bule has also used boa constrictors and pythons in her live shows.
Of course, when dealing with any animal, it’s important to pay them the respect they deserve. According to a study published in PLOS Medicine, there are an estimated 421,000 envenomings and 20,000 deaths from snake bites every year. A vast majority of these occur in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. It is possible to avoid serious injury and death, even from the most venomous of snakes, if you quickly seek appropriate medical attention.