There are two types of people in this world: those who like snakes and those who don’t. But regardless of which side you identify with, it’s best to leave the animals alone in the wild instead of messing with them.
A man from Texas who would’ve identified with the latter category learned a harsh lesson about the dangers of attempting to deal with a snake problem himself. And the circumstances surrounding said lesson were somewhat shocking, to say the least.
Image Credit: Joel Sartore, National Geographic Creative
The man, 40-year-old Jeremy Sutcliffe, happened upon a four-foot Western diamondback rattlesnake while performing scheduled yard maintenance. With the potential dangers of a bite fresh on his mind, Jeremy’s fight or flight response kicked in, and he quickly grabbed a nearby shovel to decapitate the snake.
After doing so, Jeremy thought he neutralized the potential threat. But upon trying to pick up the snake remains for disposal, the severed head allegedly bit into his hand and sustained a firm grip for what's being described as at least 30 seconds.
The lone witness to the occasion was Jeremy’s wife, 43-year-old Jennifer Sutcliffe. She said Jeremy exhibited seizures and other side-effects related to the dose of venom he received. She got Jeremy to immediate medical attention, where he was treated with several doses of anti-venom. He now remains in stable condition.
As it would seem, events like these are more common than one might think. People get bit by decapitated snakes all the time after they mistakenly believe that the animal is safe to handle afterward.
Contrarily, the snake’s nervous system enables the head to strike at a threat even after getting severed from the body. The effect is similar to the way that a lizard’s tail squirms after being lopped off.
Experts warn that it’s best to just leave snakes alone rather than attempting to mess with them. Not only isn’t it worth the potential risk of getting bit, but snakes generally leave people alone when they display the same respect.
Problematic snakes, on the other hand, can be dealt with humanely by local authorities. In some cases, it's best to call an expert.
Source: National Geographic