Nathan Layton, 28, from Buckinhamshire was bitten as he was putting the snake in a jar at a Wildlife College in Hoedspriut in March 2008, but did not not realise he had been bitten until it was too late.

He intially thought the snake had only brushed him. An hour later Layton complained of blurred vision and a few seconds later he collapsed on the floor.

He suffered a cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coroner David Morris described the situation as “a great tragedy”.

The snake was originally found near a classroom and due to the danger to students, arrangements were made to remove it.

A staff member put it in a plastic box and Layton then helped instructor Nellie De Kock to put it in a glass jar, which was when he sustained the bite/

A post-mortem examination revealed that he had died from snake bite poisoning.

Mr Layton and his girlfriend had left the UK in January 2008 to go on the year-long course.