I’m baffled by why anyone should have to be warned not to keep a poisonous snake as a pet, but a teenager from Wimauma, Florida apparently should have been given a memo.
Austin Hatfield was rushed to Tampa Bay General Hospital this weekend after he was bitten by the four-foot-long cottonmouth water moccasin he was hiding in his bedroom.
The 18-year-old found and caught the snake last week, taking it back to the home he shared with his girlfriend and keeping it inside a pillowcase, Gary Morse, a Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesman, told The Tampa Bay Times.
While Hatfield was lying on his bed, the venomous reptile escaped and slithered across his chest, attacking his face before he was able to grab it.
“Their venom is toxic and it causes extreme swelling, pain and it could be fatal. It’s a good idea not to mess with them,” Morse said.
Hatfield arrived at the hospital in time, and is said to be improving.
However, it’s illegal to possess a venomous snake in Florida without a permit, which he, of course, doesn’t have. FWC officials plan to interview him once he’s well enough, and Hatfield may face charges.