Rattlesnake Bite Story

In 2002, just after his 13th birthday, Justin Schwartz was bitten by a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Here's his story, complete with gruesome photos of the wound and more than 10 surgeries he endured to finally get well again.

Link to story | Photo gallery (warning: very gruesome photos) - Thanks Inna!

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While this was an extremely serious case, I'd like to point out that in general rattlesnakes are not very dangerous animals. They are in reality shy, retiring creatures and almost always give fair warning, in the form of a buzzing rattle and coiled body posture, when they are aggravated enough to bite. They typically do not bite unless severely provoked, and even then they seldom discharge their full dose of venom. The location of the bite, as well as the victim's youth and perhaps the size of the snake, conspired together in this case. I'd hate to see anyone using this example as an excuse to arbitrarily kill rattlesnakes on sight.

That said, I feel bad for this boy. It seems like he was a victim of really bad luck more than anything else. Also, UC Davis Med Center has notoriously substandard care; I'm not surprised it took him 10 surgeries to get better.
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I was bitten by a "brown recluse" spider on my left hand a few years ago. I might be able to dig up some grotesque photos of what followed for me, however this kid's situation was clearly far more serious.

I almost lost a finger. It looks like this kid nearly lost his arm - or his life.
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