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(NEWSER) – A chef killed a snake — but the snake had enough time to kill him back.

Chef Peng Fan, of Guangdong Province in China, cut off the head of a spitting cobra as he prepared to dice its body for a soup, the Daily Mail reports.

But 20 minutes later, as Peng was tossing the head in the trash, the head was still functioning. That's when the venomous creature bit the chef, who died before anti-venom could be provided. "We ... could hear screams coming from the kitchen," says one restaurant guest.

The bite results in paralysis and asphyxiation, the Daily Mirror notes.

"It is perfectly possible that the head remained alive and bit Peng's hand," says an expert, adding that reptiles can usually function for up to an hour, even after being decapitated. "By the time a snake has lost its head, it's effectively dead as basic body functions have ceased, but there is still some reflexive action. It means snakes have the capability of biting and injecting venom even after the head has been severed."

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