A well-known Russian snake expert filmed himself dying on a live stream broadcast after he let his pet black mamba bite his hand apparently brokenhearted over the breakup of his marriage.
In deeply disturbing footage, video blogger Arslan Valeev, 31, from St Petersburg, pleaded with viewers to call his ex-wife as he visibly deteriorated on camera and his limbs became numb.
The actual snake bite and moment of death were not shown, but the blogger – a former zoo employee – allowed viewers to see the bite on his hand.
At the end of the footage, he got up from his chair and staggered off camera, possibly towards a bathroom. He died soon afterwards.
He and wife Ekaterina ‘Katya’ Pyatyzhkina were famous in Russia for running several YouTube channels about snakes and their pet bobcats, with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Friends said that he had accused her of cheating on him.
Valeev beat her and she suffered concussion, it was reported.
He later repented and on 21 September publicly apologised to her for his behaviour, saying that their sexual relationship had ended in July.
She obtained a divorce from him after the domestic violence and was in a new relationship.
In the shocking live stream, he said: ‘Hi… So, guys… (sighs). It’s time to do what I must do. Live stream [unintelligible].’
The vlogger got up and went off camera, but a muffled sound of ‘ouch’ can be heard as the deadly snake bit him.
He returned telling viewers: ‘If I die, then I die.’
Then he said: ‘I just will stay with you for some time. Just in case – on my mobile there is a message for Katya….’
His breathing quickens, and his eyes started rolling.
‘Pass on to Katya that I loved her very much,’ he said, showing his bitten finger with blood on it.
‘Beautiful, isn’t it? Oh, damn, how it… Bye to everyone… I can’t believe it is happening to me…’
He then read out his former wife’s mobile number.
‘This is Katya’s number, if someone manages to call her, if she has time to come to me and see me, I would be happy.
‘In fact I’m already dying. Farewell. I would be glad to see Katya. Damn, I’m shaking.’
At least one viewer called an ambulance, which later arrived and rushed him to hospital, but medics were unable to save him.
On the broadcast, he showed his almost paralyzed hands but stood up and moved away, evidently to his bathroom as the video ended.
It was also claimed that he had stumbled into the street seeking help.
A day earlier he had announced a special broadcast with one of his ‘most beloved snakes’, called Mamba, giving no clue about his intentions.
A friend later posted online, claiming he had not intended to take his own life, but that it had been a mistake.
‘Turning on the camera, as normal, he went to get a snake out of the terrarium to move it into a plastic container used for broadcasts. In the process of doing this the snake bit him.
‘Being an expert in keeping poisonous snakes with 20 years experience, Arslan was aware of what would happen.
‘He left a message to his wife Ekaterina, and asked viewers who turned out to be eyewitnesses to get in touch with Katya, because his limbs began to get numb quickly, depriving him of the opportunity to call help himself.
‘Then he went out into the street, waiting for the arrival of help.’
In a previous video, Mr Valeev had spoken about his heartbreak
‘I cannot describe in words the extent of my disappointment with myself,’ he said.
‘I cannot describe the shock that I experience every day when I wake up in this new world without someone I have lost and deserved to lose, who I was with a couple of seconds ago in a dream.
‘If it makes you feel better, it hurts and I’m lonely.
‘I know what to do, I’ve heard a lot of advice, but the feeling of emptiness and a broken life can only pass with time.
‘Miracles do not happen, we do not live in a fairy tale.’
Mr Valeev’s ex-wife has not commented on the video.