A Chinese father had the shock of his life when a supposedly dead snake inside a jar of snake wine he bought a year ago suddenly bit him.
The man from Heilongjiang Province, China, reportedly bought three jars of snake wine, believing that the drink could help cure his son, who has been suffering from a chronic illness. Instead of opening the jars, the father purportedly left them untouched for a year so that they could have “enough medicinal properties.” After the year-long marination, the man claims he decided to finally open the jars and administer the traditional Chinese medicine, only to find that all three of the venomous snakes “came back to life” before one of them bit him.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
After being rushed to the hospital, he was treated immediately and reportedly survived the incident.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that snake wine contains several health benefits and can even be a cure for rheumatism, arthritis and the flu. The drink is often prepared by fitting a snake inside a jar of alcohol, usually rice wine, and leaving it there to marinate for months.
Some experts said that what happened to the father was not entirely strange since snakes can supposedly live inside a jar of alcohol for 12 months without dying, especially if the lid is left slightly open for air to enter.
However, herpetologist Wolfgang Wüster argued that what happened was “biologically impossible.”
“No snake can survive submerged in any kind of liquid in a bottle for more than an hour or so as a maximum,” Wüster told Newsweek. “Snakes have no magical powers, they are made of flesh and bone like any other animal, and require food, water and oxygen to survive.”
Some snake species are able to enter a state of brumation, which is similar to hibernation for reptiles, when certain conditions are met, such as very low temperatures. During brumation, they require less oxygen and their metabolism slows.