The “don’t tread on me” flag carries the symbolism it does for a reason—poisonous snakes are one animal you just don’t mess with. And now a Steve Irwin-wannabe Florida man has found himself the victim of a rattlesnake bite after he tried to kiss it on the mouth.
On Monday night, Putnam County resident Charles Goff found a rattlesnake outside his property. He told Action News Jax that he left the snake alone and went to bed, intending to capture it the following day. Goff says that he woke up to discover that two of his neighbors, including victim Ron Reinold, had been playing with the snake.
“The next morning before I got up, they were playing with the snake,” Goff told the news station. “One boy said, ‘I’m going to kiss it in the mouth,’ and the snake bit him in the face.”
— Russell Colburn (@RussellANjax) May 17, 2017
Reinold was actually bitten on the tongue during his attempted snake kiss. Goff told reporters that Reinold and the other man were irresponsible by playing with it.
Reinold soon lost consciousness and, according to 911 call placed by a woman at the scene, he was bleeding from the mouth. The victim was immediately airlifted to a nearby hospital, in critical condition.
According to Action News Jax, Reinold was put into a chemically induced coma which was expected to last for days, but he awoke soon thereafter and was making signs with his hands. He is expected to make a complete recovery.
Bites from rattlesnakes are extremely painful, and in many cases lethal. Treating a snakebite usually requires multiple vials of antivenom, which can cost thousands of dollars per vial—it’s a very expensive mistake for anyone to make.
“Ron was just acting silly, you know? I guess he said he could kiss the devil and get away with it, but evidently he didn’t,” said Goff.
As for the rattlesnake, it’s still on the loose.