Field and Stream
“A Taste of Death”
John Davis had tasted snake before. While on maneuvers out of Fort Carson, Colo., where he was stationed as an Army medic, he had once stunned a scout unit by catching a prairie rattlesnake barehanded, biting it behind the head, and skinning it with his teeth. Davis had roasted the snake over a sagebrush fire and thought it tasted like alligator. But on November 4, 2005, it was not flesh he tasted. There was a metallic tang in his mouth, the flavor of venom that in a few heartbeats had pumped from the bite on his right calf to the roof of his mouth.
“My lips started to chatter like I had hypothermia,” he recalls. “I started to quiver and shake everywhere.”