A teen from Wimauma, Florida has been hospitalized at Tampa General Hospital after an incident over the weekend where he was bitten by a snake. On Saturday evening, 18-year-old Austin Lane Hatfield was bitten on the face by a cottonmouth snake he kept in a pillowcase on his bed at home.
According to TBO, the man was bitten on the lip by the snake, also known as a water moccasin, and brought to the hospital by his family.
As it goes, Hatfield had captured the snake recently and had it inside of a pillowcase in his room at home. He kept the pillowcase on his bed and it was still there when he tried to go to sleep around 11:45 p.m. on Saturday night.
It was then that Hatfield felt the cottonmouth snake slither out of the pillow and across his stomach. When Hatfield tried to recapture it, the snake struck and ended up biting him on the lip.
“His condition has improved today and he is expected to recover,” said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
All that is known is that Hatfield captured the cottonmouth snake sometime last week, and he was in illegal possession of it. Due to the snake being venomous, a state permit is required to legally keep one.
Hatfield is currently being investigated by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It’s possible that he could end up facing charges for illegally possessing the cottonmouth snake.
WFLA reported that the snake ended up being euthanized and brought over to Tampa General Hospital. While there, the snake is going to be used for identification purposes.
A spokeswoman for Tampa General Hospital has also stated that Austin Lane Hatfield and his family have asked that no further information be released about his condition. His family has also declined any interviews and will share no photos.
Morse said that the cottonmouth snake is extremely deadly and should be given plenty of room.
“It really doesn’t want to eat you, but it will protect itself,” Morse said. “Cottonmouths have a reputation of being somewhat skittish when you get near them and they will readily defend themselves.”
Cottonmouth snakes are the only venomous snakes found in Florida and usually reside in swamp areas. When threatened, they coil and open their mouth to strike. That’s obviously what happened to Austin Lane Hatfield after the snake escaped the pillowcase kept on his bed.
[Images via FWC/Facebook]