Austin Hatfield, 18, is recovering from extreme swelling at a Tampa hospital, still too sick to talk to officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who want to know more about his capturing snakes without a permit.
Hatfield caught the pit viper – also known as a cottonmouth – last week and kept it in his room, bragging to friend he had kissed the serpent.
“He kisses it right on the head. Right on the mouth. He’s not afraid of death,” said Hatfield’s best friend, Jason Belcher.
That all changed over the weekend when the snake escaped from its pillowcase, slithered across Hatfield’s stomach and onto the floor, reported the Tampa Tribune. It struck when Hatfield tried to recapture it. (Read more from “Teen Bitten by Water Moccasin He Kept on His Bed” HERE)