A water moccasin bites a man in the face, nearly killing him in Florida, and the news has gone viral. According to the Canada Journal, 18-year-old Austin Hatfield had the venomous snake in his home for about a week. The teen is said to be fascinated by snakes and picked up the four-footer last week while he was swimming.
Austin’s friends say that he was handling the snake, trying to “give it a kiss,” when he got way more than he bargained for. Authorities have a different take on what happened. The snake was being kept in a pillowcase, and it escaped late Saturday night. Authorities say that the reptile made its way to Austin’s stomach when he grabbed it and pulled it close to his chest — and that’s when he got bit.
The water moccasin that bit the man in the face easily could have killed him. These snakes cause severe swelling when they attack, as their venom is poisonous to humans. Hatfield was rushed to Tampa General Hospital, where he is still recovering.
“His condition has improved today and he is expected to recover,” said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
According to Mail Online, there is an anti-venom for these particular snakes, and that may have saved Hatfield’s life. As for the water moccasin that bit Hatfield, it was euthanized. Mr. Morse said that Hatfield had been keeping it “illegally,” as a permit is required to keep a venomous snake as a pet in the state of Florida. Morse explained that this particular type of snake gets defensive very easily, and that’s likely why it bit Hatfield.
“‘It really doesn’t want to eat you, but it will protect itself. Cottonmouths have a reputation of being somewhat skittish when you get near them and they will readily defend themselves,” said Morse.
The water moccasin that bit the man is also known as a cottonmouth snake. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, these snakes can be found in freshwater lakes and swamps. While these animals are not as dangerous as the rattlesnake, they can do significant harm to a person, as evidenced by what happened to Hatfield.
Part of the viper family, cottonmouths get their name from the color of the inside of its mouth, which is white.
“Adult snakes are dark in color and can grow to between 2 and 4 feet. They have broad, triangular heads and a dark stripe that runs through their eyes. There is a deep pit between their eyes and nostrils,” reports the Canada Journal.
[Photo via YouTube]