A Texan man nearly died after being bitten by the head of a rattlesnake that he had just decapitated.
Jennifer Sutcliffe said her husband was cleaning up their garden when he came across the four-foot (1.25m) reptile and thought removing its head was the safest way to dispose of it.
It was not.
“That’s kind of a classic mistake. People don’t realise that reptiles and mammals are wired differently,” snake expert, Leslie Boyer, told Gizmodo.
“The head end of a cut-up rattlesnake can continue to function, including the venom glands, for a long time afterward and, in fact, the other half continues to work. It’ll rise and rattle.”
After being bitten Sutcliffe tried to drive her husband to hospital but he began to have seizures in the car. They were met by an ambulance and he was then airlifted to hospital.
Doctors had to administer 26 vials of anti-venom.
His kidney function is now weak but he is in a stable condition after the incident which happened on 28 May.
The most poisonous snake in the US is the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake but a bite but its deadly venom rarely proves fatal as effective anti-venoms are readily available.
Around 8,000 Americans each year are bitten by a venomous snake but only around 0.01% of them die.