Here’s some news to give you lingering, horrible nightmares. A chef in China died after being bitten by a snake that he had decapitated 20 minutes earlier.

The insane accident happened last month as chef Pen Fan was preparing snake soup, a delicacy served in high end Guangdong restaurants. He picked up the severed head of the Indochinese spitting cobra he had been prepping in order to toss it in the bin—and that’s when it bit him. Guests reported hearing screams from the kitchen; by the time emergency staff arrived, Fan had succumbed to the snake’s venom.

Snake wine. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Venomous snakes are also commonly used in China to make snake wine. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

How is this even possible and how am I going to sleep tonight, you ask. Gizmodo explains that reptiles have far slower metabolism than mammals, meaning they can continue functioning with low oxygen levels and low blood pressure that would kill us warm-blooded weaklings. In fact, snakes can stay alive for up to an hour after decapitation (good luck sleeping now).

But here’s what makes it worse (yes, there is something worse than knowing that severed snake heads can move around, watch you, and kill you). Decapitated snakes suffer to an extent that we can’t even imagine because we wouldn’t be able to survive it, reports Gizmodo.

With what movement they can manage they often writhe in agony from the massive severance of tissue. They are virtually helpless, frightened and going to die.

Apparently, snakes which have been pickled in alcohol to make medicinal “snake wine” can also survive for a surprisingly long time. Last year, a Chinese woman was attacked by a viper that had been submerged in a bottle of snake wine for 3 whole months.

Like we said—lingering, horrible nightmares.

[via New Zealand Herald]