Meet the Filipino snake catcher who has been bitten so many times he has become immune to COBRA VENOM – and lets them bite him once a week to maintain his strength.
Joe Fernando Quililan, 31, started handling the wild reptiles as a hobby when he was just 14 – tracking them down in the jungle and removing them from neighbours’ homes.
Since then Joe – dubbed ”venom man” – has suffered hundreds of bites, been ”hospitalised and almost died five times”, and had his right index finger amputated after a viper bite.
Incredibly, Joe allows a deadly cobra to bite hime ONCE A WEEK because he believes it maintains his body’s resistance to the venom that would normally kill people.
Medics have confirmed that Joe has an abnormally high amount of antibodies but are at a loss to explain his immunity – saying he is the first person they have found who can handle such bites.
Footage taken at Joe’s home in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, shows him allowing a deadly Philippines Cobra to bite his right arm.
The bite would normally cause instant breathing problems and unconsciousness in its victims – in some cases leading to death – but super-human Joe simply shrugs off the wound – saying he can feel the ”warmth of the venom run through his veins”.
Joe said he ”frequently” allows snakes to bite him in order to keep his resistance high.
He said: ”When I get bitten by this Philippine Cobra, I feel pain. Normally it’s painful. After around five minutes the pain will subside and it will become very swollen.
”I can feel my veins tighten and tingle with the warmth of the venom running through the blood.
”I’ve been hospitalised five times, almost died five times, but right now I don’t worry because I’m immune to this.”
Joe has become an expert snake handler and regularly catches the serpents wreaking havoc and terrifying residents in the tropical region of southern Philippines.
He landed a job with the country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources where he helps with snake conservation.
Joe said: ”I usually get bitten because of accidents but I have become immune because of these. I do frequent bites, so my immunity will be much stronger.
”The worst experience I had was cleaning the Viper. Opening the lid, I did not expect the Viper would bite me in the finger. This the worst experience I had in my life.
”Because of this hobby, I cannot avoid encountering the more aggressive wild snakes and I’ve been in and out of the hospital five times, but the bites make me more immune to the venom.
”The reactions I get from the cobra’s bite include dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion but my body already overcame these symptoms.
”I love snakes. I want the public to be educated in what I do with my hobby. Snakes have purposes in the ecosystem and in our lives as well.”
Medics carried out blood tests on Joe earlier in this year which confirmed he has more antibodies than an average adult – and enough to fight off snake venom.
Eleonor Cervantes, a Senior Science Research Specialist at the Immunology Department in the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, said: ”We found out that Joe indeed has antibodies against the cobra venom. But to what extent his blood can neutralize the venom, we are not yet sure. This is the first time that we found a person who can do that and had his blood tested.”