(August 2007, Oregon) An amateur snake collector caught a 20-inch rattlesnake on the highway. Three weeks later, his captive took its revenge. The formerly fearless snake charmer admitted, "You can assume alcohol was involved."
He had a six-pack under his belt, and was consuming what he described as "a mixture of stupid stuff" at a barbecue. The calamity was precipitated when he handed a beer to his ex, using the same hand that held the rattlesnake.
"Get that thing out of my face," she said.
He protested, "It's a nice snake. Nothing can happen. Watch!" Famous last words. As they left his mouth, his fate was sealed.
One month later, still sore from muscle and nerve damage from the venom, the 23-year-old admitted that he stuck the snake in his mouth to prove his point. Instead, he disproved his point, for the snake bit him. He had no time for embarrassment. In great pain and gasping for breath, he asked his ex to drive him to the hospital. "She was the only one sober," he explained.
He was unconscious by the time he arrived, his swollen tongue protruding from his mouth. Physicians performed a tracheotomy to restore airflow to his lungs, and administered antivenin. He was kept heavily sedated for several days. When the swelling went down, "we let him wake up," his doctor reported.
The Poison Control Center sees about 50 snakebite victims a year. Generally they are injected on the legs while hiking, or arms while reaching under a rock. Few are bitten on the tongue.
His friends were blunt. "They were, like, what the heck were you thinking?" His answer? "It's my own stupidity."
MEDIA REFERENCESS: (1), (2), and 16 more.
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Submitted by: Alan Wiebe, Luke Reingardt, Robert Luckett, Sverker, Jim, Lasse Larkka, Wanda
Reference: The Oregonian, Associated Press, LiveScience.com