A Tennessee man learned the hard way that a bite from even a small rattlesnake is something that can’t be ignored.
Austin McGee of Franklin, Tennessee, told TV station WZTV Monday he was bitten by the snake while working in the woods near his home, but it wasn’t until days later that he began taking it seriously.
Images of the aftermath posted on Facebook May 30 by a friend, Dalton Dorris, show an index finger that appears to be rotting. The photos, which have been shared 22,000 times as of Tuesday, reveal the finger turned black and swelled to the size of a lemon seven days after the bite.
“It was just kind of a freak accident,” McGee told WZTV. “I honestly never thought that a rattlesnake bite wasn’t that big of a deal...It didn’t hurt real bad, just like getting stung.”
The finger was drained of toxins about a week later and the entire top layer of skin came off in the process, the photos show. As for the spot on the tip where the bite occurred, it still remains black and heavily scarred.
It’s believed the snake was a timber rattlesnake and the bite occurred May 10, Dorris said in a Facebook post. “The doctors say he will keep his finger and it will be back to normal in 6-8 months,” Dorris wrote. “And no, he was not messing with it. He was picking up some metal and the snake was under the metal. He never knew it was there.”
More than 20,000 people have reacted on Facebook to the photos, which have also been shared by McGee’s girlfriend, Adrianna Jean Broking. Many among the 7,300 commenters say they’re stunned by the damage and amazed the finger can be saved.
“Good god almighty that’s horrifying!” Sara Hanna wrote.“I am never going anywhere that venomous snakes live.”
“I had no idea how bad it could be,” Theresa Clark Roseberry posted..
“I think I would have chopped the whole finger off,” Katelin May wrote..