In case anyone needs a reminder as to why you shouldn’t play with a cottonmouth snake, don’t do it, you’ll immediately regret it. Florida resident Austin Hatfield, 18, found out the hard way when he was hospitalized after being bitten on the face while playing with one of the poisonous critters. He was reportedly attempting to kiss it.
“He took it out, put it on his chest and it was acting funny, and it jumped up and got him,” said Jason Belcher, a witness to the incident. “He ripped it off his face, threw it on the ground and he started swelling up immediately. It was pretty frightening.”
Hatfield was taken to Tampa General Hospital to be treated for his injuries. Once he recovers, he is likely to face charges for not having a permit to keep a poisonous snake, which is illegal in Florida.
What happened is very rare, according to Alfred Aleguas, the managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center.
What’s probably much less rare? Getting bitten by the venomous snake your attempting to kiss.
“They’re not the most poisonous snakes that we have here,” Aleguas said. “Don’t play with them. Don’t handle them. Don’t do anything. Stay away from — leave them alone. They’ll leave you alone.”