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Not the First Teen Boy to Be Betrayed by His Snake

Austin Lane Hatfield, 18, captured a fully grown cottonmouth in his girlfriend’s back yard in Hillsborough County, Fla. Also known as a water moccasin, the pit viper is a venomous snake whose bite can be deadly. Hatfield kept it as a pet, keeping it in a pillowcase on his bed, and he liked to kiss it — on the mouth. “Alright he’s kissed it 12 times,” said his buddy Jason Belcher. But then, “He took it out, put it on his chest and it was acting funny,” Belcher says. “He ran out of the room saying, ‘Hospital, hospital, now, now’.” The snake had bit him — on the mouth. Hatfield was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, but he is expected to recover. David Lueck, who owns a Florida trapping business, says if you see a cottonmouth, “Just turn around and walk away from it and you’ll be fine.” But there’s even a more important rule, he says. “First and foremost, don’t kiss them.” (RC/Tampa Tribune, Bay News 9, WTVT Tampa) ...That’s what his girlfriend’s father said about his daughters, but he didn’t listen to that advice either.
Original Publication Date: 26 April 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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