Dis­em­bod­ied snake head bites back

Rural Wash­ing­ton man sent to ER fol­low­ing at­tack

The Covington News - - AGRICULTURE & OUTDOORS -

PROSSER, Wash. — Turns out, even be­headed rat­tlesnakes can be dan­ger­ous.

That’s what 53- year- old Danny An­der­son learned as he was feed­ing his horses Mon­day night, when a 5foot rat­tler slith­ered onto his cen­tral Wash­ing­ton prop­erty, about 50 miles south­east of Yakima.

An­der­son and his 27- yearold son, Ben­jamin, pinned the snake with an ir­ri­ga­tion pipe and cut off its head with a shovel. A few more strikes to the head left it sit­ting un­der a pickup truck.

“ When I reached down to pick up the head, it raised around and did a back­flip al­most, and bit my fin­ger,” An­der­son said. “ I had to shake my hand real hard to get it to let loose.”

His wife in­sisted they go to the hospi­tal, and by the time they ar­rived at Prosser Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal 10 min­utes later, An­der­son’s tongue was swollen and the venom was spread­ing. He then was taken by am­bu­lance 30 miles to a Rich­land hospi­tal to get the full se­ries of six shots he needed.

The snake head ended up in the bed of his pickup, and An­der­son landed in the hospi­tal un­til Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Mike Liv­ingston, a Wash­ing­ton De­part­ment of Fish and Wildlife bi­ol­o­gist, said the area where the An­der­son’s live is near prime snake habi­tat. But he said he had never heard of any­one be­ing bit by a de­cap­i­tated snake be­fore.

“ That’s re­ally sur­pris­ing but that’s an im­por­tant thing to tell peo­ple,” he said. “ It may have been just a re­flex on the part of the snake.”

If an­other rat­tlesnake comes along, An­der­son said he’ll likely try to kill it again, but said he’ll grab a shovel and bury it right there.

“ It still gives me the creeps to think that sonof- a- gun could do that,” he said.

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