A nearly fatal bite by a poisonous snake led to the arrest of a man Wednesday for keeping 51 deadly cobras and mambas in his Tokyo apartment without permission, police said.

The illicit collection was discovered when Nobukazu Kashiwagi called for an ambulance after being bitten on a finger by one of his snakes, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

Kashiwagi, aged 41, was trying to feed the snake when he was bitten in mid July. He was seriously ill in a Tokyo hospital for several weeks, but subsequently recovered. Police arrested Kashiwagi after he was discharged, the spokesman said.

Kashiwagi kept the deadly snakes without permission from the Tokyo metropolitan government, the police spokesman said.

Video footage by public broadcaster NHK showed the snake cases were piled up in his small apartment room. One of the snakes was about six feet long.

The police spokesman could not say where the snakes have been moved.