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August 14, 2007 > Bite from beheaded rattlesnake

Bite from beheaded rattlesnake

PROSSER, Washington (AP), Aug 10 Apparently, rattlesnakes can be dangerous even after they've been beheaded.

Danny Anderson learned that as he was feeding his horses Monday night, when a 5-foot (1.5-meter) rattler slithered onto his central Washington property, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Yakima.

Anderson, 53, and his 27-year-old son, Benjamin, pinned the snake with an irrigation pipe and cut off its head with a shovel. A few more strikes to the head left it sitting under a pickup truck.

``When I reached down to pick up the head, it raised around and did a backflip almost, and bit my finger,'' Anderson said. ``I had to shake my hand real hard to get it to let loose.''

His wife insisted they go to the hospital, and by the time they arrived 10 minutes later, Anderson's tongue was swollen and the venom was spreading. He then was taken by ambulance for the full series of six shots he needed at another hospital, where he spent two days.

Mike Livingston, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, said the area where the Andersons live is near prime snake habitat. But he said he had never heard of anyone being bit by a decapitated snake before.

``That's really surprising but that's an important thing to tell people,'' he said. ``It may have been just a reflex on the part of the snake.''

If another rattlesnake comes along, Anderson said he'll likely try to kill it again, but said he'll grab a shovel and bury it right there.

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