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South Texas man given 26 doses of anti-venom after decapitated rattlesnake bite

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By: Emily Baucum, News 4 San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – A Corpus Christi man needed 26 doses of anti-venom after he decapitated a rattlesnake and the severed head latched onto his hand.

"There's a whole lot going on still in a dead snake, which includes the ability to open and close the jaw,” snake expert Jarrod Forthman says. “It's just kind of acting on nerves and releasing its venom glands."

We caught up with him at Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo where he serves as an outreach coordinator.

"Some people come just because they're fascinated with snakes,” Forthman says. “Others come to conquer a fear."

He’s had his own run-in with a rattlesnake, proving why the rest of us shouldn’t take matters into our own hands.

"You can see I did lose part of my thumb due to a rattlesnake bite,” Forthman says. "Snakes aren't really that aggressive at all unless they feel threatened. If they feel cornered, you might step on one - that's when a snake's going to defend itself."

You're most likely to encounter a snake when it's on the move. That’s typically when the temperature's changing: early in the morning when the day's heating up, or at night when things are cooling off.

"Snakes can safely be moved away with a broom and pushed along, into a trash can,” Forthman says.

The Snake Farm doesn’t believe in killing snakes. But if you feel like it’s venomous, Forthman recommends getting professional help.

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And whatever you do: don’t touch the snake.

"Obviously, if you do kill a snake, this guy's learned the hard way: they are still dangerous even though they're dead,” Forthman says.

Your local animal control can help you safely remove a snake from your yard, or refer you to a specialist.

Here in San Antonio, Animal Care Services works closely with volunteers at the South Texas Herpetology Association who can be reached at (210) 520-6101.

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