A snake handler in Cyprus was fighting for his life Tuesday after a king cobra bit the hand that fed him, authorities said.

The hooded snake bit his master when the man, 43, stuck his hand into a cage holding food at a traditional Cypriot religious festival attended by thousands of people Monday evening.

Poison from the king cobra, the longest venomous snake in the world, is highly toxic and can kill within minutes. The man was taken to a hospital where he was placed on a ventilator.

Attacks by king cobras, indigenous to the Indian sub continent and southeast Asia, are rare. Researchers say they strike only if they feel

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