A Texas man is recovering in the hospital after a rattlesnake bit him in his garden, sending him into a venom-induced coma.
The man got "huge dose of venom in him," according to his wife, Jennifer Sutcliffe. According to CBS 21 out of Dallas, Sutcliffe's husband was tending to his garden and decapitated the snake with a shovel. The head then proceeded to bite him on his hand.
A Texas man nearly died after he bent down to collect the snake he had decapitated moments earlier in his yard and… https://t.co/hcGtQHTOIC— CBSDFW (@CBSDFW) 1528392066.0
Snakes have slower metabolisms than mammals like humans, so their organs don't shut down as quickly after death. Electro-chemical signals still pulse through their bodies after they've been killed, even if their heads have been removed. This effect is also why snakes' bodies tend to undulate after they've been decapitated.
In case you weren't already terrified of snakes... They can still bite up to several hours after they've died. Snak… https://t.co/53MGEASeOy— Monica Popescu (@Monica Popescu) 1528326909.0
"I was pulling out some weeds... and actually almost grabbed the snake," Sutcliffe said. It was at this point the snake got agitated and popped out, sensing a threat. "I screamed, stepped back, and then that's when my husband came over with the shovel and he did sever the head because he knew it was a rattlesnake."
“He’s got some pretty significant wounds on his hand”. The wife of a Texan man who was bitten by a severed rattle… https://t.co/ehBDdFY02S— BBC Radio 5 live (@BBC Radio 5 live) 1528395166.0
Sutcliffe then described how the snake's head turned around when her husband when to reach for it, at which point, he got bitten. Her husband's organs shut down due to the venom, and he had to placed into a temporary coma. Though he is now awake, Sutcliffe is battling renal failure from the attack. "He's got some pretty significant wounds on his hands," his wife said.
So the snake was dead, but it still bit the man. 😱😱😱 https://t.co/3fDSCGZsEQ— Jessica Harthorn (@Jessica Harthorn) 1528369055.0
Snake venom can cause a host of almost immediate reactions, including anaphylactic shock, organ failure, seizures, and even death if anti-venom isn't administered quickly.
There was so much venom in the bite that Sutcliffe needed six times the normal amount of anti-venom to negate the snake's toxic effects - 26 doses were administered. This is because when a snake's head is severed, it no longer has control over its jaw function. Once it bites, it hangs on, and venom keeps pumping.
After being bitten by the head of a snake he had just severed, A Corpus Christi, Texas man needed more than SIX TIM… https://t.co/jAsTgcsGVz— WATE 6 On Your Side (@WATE 6 On Your Side) 1528367101.0
Sutcliffe is expected to recover, however Leslie Boyer, an anti-venom doctor at the University of Arizona VIPER Institute, told Gizmodo: "It's cruel to the animal and it leaves you with a smaller piece that's venomous to pick up." So, in short, if you see a venomous snake, don't try to kill it. Just GTF outta there.