Stories tagged snake bite

Aug
13
2007

Rattling our cage: A rattlesnake's recently severed head still had enough reflexes left in it or other biological properties to be able to bite the finger of a rancher who had just used a shovel to snap off the head. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Rattling our cage: A rattlesnake's recently severed head still had enough reflexes left in it or other biological properties to be able to bite the finger of a rancher who had just used a shovel to snap off the head. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Just like Indiana Jones, I’m not too keen on snakes, especially the venomous ones. Now we snake-a-phobes have one more thing to worry about: dead snakes.

Last week a rural Washington state man was bitten by the decapitated head of a rattlesnake. After finding the five-foot snake in the grass while feeding his horses, the man immobilized the snake with a pipe and whacked off its head with a shovel. End of story, right?

Oh no. When he reached down to pick up the snake, the severed head twisted around and bit the guy’s finger. It took about 10 minutes for him to get to the nearby hospital where anti-venom shots were given to him just as his tongue was starting to swell.

I can hear you scoffing: “Urban legend.” But a wildlife biologist in Washington said that it’s possible that the snake’s heat-seeking abilities may still have been intact, or that the snake’s reflexes were still working despite the severing.