Snake bites Coolidge man in face, neck after he tried catching it

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A man out catching snakes for fun ended up getting bit twice on his face and neck. 

"I wasn't thinking," Victor Pratt said. "Instead of being a father, I was being a buddy."

Pratt has been humbled by his experience earlier this month while celebrating his son's birthday in Coolidge.

"I've been catching rattlesnakes since I was about 8 years old because we had nothing else to do back in the day," Pratt said.

And that's what he was doing with his sons that night - trying to catch rattlesnakes. 

"I know how to cook them and cut the heads off and stuff," Pratt said. "They taste like chicken. Actually, it's not bad." 

But the snake bit Pratt twice in his face and neck. 

"It makes your mind smash, like it's getting smashed," he said.

"I saw him bleeding down," said Pratt's son, Samuel. "He had it in his hand by the time I turned my head."

Pratt said he pulled the snake off and his sons took him to the hospital.

He was airlifted to Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix.

"First aid measures usually are ineffective," said Dr. Steven Curry with the Department of Medical Toxicology. "That is, tourniquets are bad, knives or razor blade and cutting over wound is bad."

Dr. Curry said when it comes to bites to the face, the biggest risk is difficulty breathing.

"The progression of swelling is very rapid, and these patients will commonly have an obstructed airway and be unable to breathe in just a few minutes," Dr. Curry said. He said Arizona sees as many as 350 rattlesnake bite cases a year.

Pratt, who needed 26 vials of antivenom at several thousand dollars apiece, said he won't be taking the same risk.

"I know not to be playing around with snakes no more," he said. "You have to be smart."

According to the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, there have been 87 reported snake bites so far this year, 16 of them in August and 17 in the first half of September. Spokeswoman Jen Fenter said the "numbers are right on track," explaining that August and September are usually the peak months for snake bites.

In 2016, there were 88 total snake bites reported -- 14 and 15 in August and September respectively. In 2015, there were 14 snake bites reported in August, a whopping 25 in September and 106 for the entire year.

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For more information from Banner UMC on snake bites, click here.

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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