An 18-year-old in Florida went to the hospital after suffering from multiple bites to the face from a water moccasin. He was in critical condition but also faced major fines.
Austin Hatfield looks, judging from his Facebook page, to be really into snakes. But that love for reptiles had a consequence back in 2015.
He was taken to Tampa General Hospital to treat injuries caused by a four-foot water moccasin he had caught on a trail by his house.
He kept the water moccasin as a pet and felt it necessary to kiss it on occasion. Yes, really. The story gets weirder. He kept track of how many times he got his face close to the snake, and had reached 12 before the snake bit him. His 13th attempt ended up being the one that put him in the hospital.
"He kisses it right on the head. Right on the mouth. He's not afraid of death," said Hatfield's best friend, Jason Belcher.
According to Belcher, who witnessed the attack, Hatfield went to kiss the snake, that was kept in a pillow case, before "he ran out of the room saying hospital, hospital. Now, now."
As the law stands, it is illegal to keep a wild moccasin without a permit in Florida. Hatfield faced misdemeanor charges and possibly up to 60 days in jail. A spokesperson from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission had to take the time to remind everyone that the majority of venomous snake bites happen when people attempt to handle or harm the animal.
"Just like any animal in Florida, if they pose a danger to people, we recommend you stay a safe distance."
Hatfield's story went wildly viral with many people ridiculing him for his actions. We couldn't dig up any other info on what happened after the fact, but we're hoping he learned a lesson about messing with venomous animals.