Severed rattlesnake head bites man who decapitated it

Larry Hoffman
June 8, 2018

A Corpus Christi man is recovering after being bitten by a rattlesnake, despite the snake's head already being cut off.

Mr Sutcliffe and his wife Jennifer were gardening outside their home, near Lake Corpus Christi in southern Texas, at the end of May.

She said he came to the rescue with a shovel and hacked off the snakes head, but "ten to fifteen minutes later, he went to get the head out of the way.the head actually turned around and grabbed onto his hand".

The snake released all of its venom into Sutcliffe's husband, causing him to immediately experience seizures, loss of vision and internal bleeding. It was an hour away, Sutcliffe told The Washington Post. Doctors told Sutcliffe her husband might not make it, even after giving him vast amounts of anti-venom.

"A normal person who is going to get bit is going to get two to four doses of anti-venom", the wife said. Dr. Michael Halpert, a trauma surgeon at Christus Spohn Shoreline Hospital, said although dying from a snakebite is rare, it happens.

Leslie Boyer, antivenom doctor and Founding Director of the University of Arizona VIPER Institute, told Gizmodo that people should not assume that severing the head of a snake renders them harmless.

Even after being severed, rattlesnakes can still bite. He took a shovel and decapitated the snake, KIII TV reported.

First aid advice for snake bites includes keeping the patient as still as possible, applying a pressure bandage to the wound and using a splint if bitten on an arm or leg. In fact, he said, "If you left the dead head there long enough the venom would degrade".

He was raced to hospital and given 26 doses of anti-venom. Experts advise that it's far better to retreat indoors and call more experienced handlers from animal-control, the local police or the fire department to safely remove the snake.

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