A decapitated rattlesnake’s head sunk its fangs into a man, injecting him with its deadly venom, almost killing him – no, this isn’t a line from the script of a new horror movie.
Usually in life we can be fairly certain that once something has lost its head it’s no longer going to cause us any harm. Maybe at most it could run around frantically, like the infamous headless chicken.
Warning: This video contains graphic content:
Well, think again.
A man in Texas decapitated a rattlesnake in his garden on May 27, and when he picked up the snake’s head it bit him, the Mirror reports.
Milo Sutcliffe and his wife Jennifer were doing some gardening at their home near Lake Corpus Christi when Jennifer spotted the four foot long rattlesnake.
Milo then used a shovel to sever its head, with the intention to stop it harming the couple.
He picked up the snake’s head to dispose of it, but as he did, the creature sunk its fangs into his hand.
As the creature had lost its body, it released all of its venom into Milo’s hand. The highly poisonous venom injected into his skin from the snake’s fangs caused him to soon suffer seizures, loss of vision and internal bleeding.
Images from the incident show Mr Sutcliffe’s hand as considerably swollen, and covered in dark purple bruises.
Realising the severity of the situation, Mrs Sutcliffe called emergency services and began to drive her husband to hospital. However, his fast deterioration caused her to pull over and meet an ambulance. Mr Sutcliffe was airlifted to hospital in a helicopter.
Speaking to KIII-TV, Mrs Sutcliffe said that the first 24 hours after the incident were the worst, and that the doctors told her that her husband may not make it. Victims of snake biting are usually administered two to four doses of anti-venom to treat them – Mr Sutcliffe was given 26 doses.
According to National Geographic, snakes have the capability to bite and release venom even after death.
By the time the snake has lost its head, it’s dead and the basic body functions have ceased, but there is still some reflexive action.
Snakes have the capability of causing biting and injecting venom even after the head has been severed, even though it is dead.
ABC News report that dying from a snake bite in the US is rare, with only 10-12 deaths a year despite there being between 6,000 to 8,000 snake bites per year in the country.
A trauma surgeon in Corpus Christi spoke to KIII-TV about snake bites, saying:
You just want to keep the victim calm, keep the bitten area above the level of the heart slightly, and get the patient to the nearest emergency room
Jennifer told KIII-TV that her husband is now in a stable condition, but is still experiencing weak kidney function.
We hope he makes a full recovery.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.