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Record-Seeker Gets Toxic Roommates

Mon., July 7, 1997

A Malaysian snake charmer climbed into a small glass enclosure over the weekend and vowed to stay there three weeks with some creepy roommates - 6,000 scorpions.

“About five years ago, I began dreaming how it would be to live with scorpions,” Ali Khan Samsuddin said as he sat cross-legged with the black creatures wiggling over his face and body.

Ali Khan, 39, said he wants to beat the record for living with scorpions held by an Indonesian man who cohabited with 4,000 of them for 15 days.

This isn’t the first time Ali Khan has climbed into a cage with beasts that cause many other people nightmares. In 1989, he lived with 400 cobras for 12 hours - for 40 straight days.

He said that this time, he won’t leave the 10-by-7-foot cage even to go to the bathroom or to bathe.

Ali Khan said he can withstand 10 scorpion bites a day, and he credits herbs with increasing his tolerance to their poisonous stings. As the scorpions were being placed into his cage, he was bitten twice - including a sting on the nose.

What if more than 10 bite him in a day? “I will open the door and run out - I, too, want to live, you know.”

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