Man survives toxic snake bite - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Man survives toxic snake bite

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April 26, 2004

Atkinson County- Daniel Lavender retraces the steps he made last Tuesday morning. He remembers being excited to see a snake cross his truck's path as he drove through an Atkinson County field.

"I thought it was a scarlet king snake and decided that I wanted to catch it and I was going to carry it home to get rid of some rattlesnakes," he admits.

Lavender jumped out of truck, stepped on it's tail and bent down to catch it. "Apparently the snake felt a little differently about the whole ordeal and took a bite at me, and I pulled back and that's when the tooth actually went into my finger."

Fortunately co-workers convinced him to go to the hospital and get checked out, because what he thought was a harmless Scarlet King, was really a deadly Coral Snake. Both look similar, but as Lavender now knows there's an easy rhyme to help tell the two apart.

"Red and black a friend of Jack's. Red and yellow a deadly fellow."

Antivenin flown in from Atlanta and Tallahassee was injected into his body before Lavender even experienced any symptoms. And after two days in intensive care he says he's learned his lesson.

"What I did was very stupid and I would not recommend it for anybody to even try to touch a snake."

Lavender says he won't. And he's proven it. When a snake slithered our way during the interview. Lavender made sure to stay out of its path.

"I don't know what kind he is, but I have a book at the office and I'll be glad to identify him for you. I'm not touching him. No. I don't care if he isn't venomous," Lavender laughs.

Aside from frightening memories, he has few side effects from the medicine.

"My joints hurt a little bit and I have a few muscle spasms, but other than that I'm doing pretty good. I was just a stupid mistake on my part."

And one he says he'll never forget and never repeat.

A forestry ranger caught and killed the coral snake that bit Lavender. He now has it at home and plans to send it to the Poison Control Center so they can use it to warn others to stay away from them.

Posted at 5:45 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com