Los Angeles, Aug 27: Stinging selfie! An American man has been bitten by a rattlesnake while attempting a selfie with the serpent and could end up losing his hand, the second such incident in the US within two months.
Alex Gomez, 36, is hospitalised in Lake Elsinore, California, after he picked up a 4-foot rattlesnake and tried to take a selfie with the reptile.
Gomez spotted the rattler in a field on Monday by his family's ranch on Cielito Drive, shortly before he made the potentially deadly mistake.
"I'm shocked that he would have that thing around his neck. It could've bit his neck, and that would have been it. That's just being a fool," Alex's mother Deborah was quoted as saying by CBS News.
Alex's nephew, Ronnie, was with him when the snake was discovered, and says the reptile gave plenty of warning. "It was really think and had ten rattles on it, it was rattling.
It was pretty mad," Ronnie said. Upon being bitten, Gomez, who is a father a three, was experiencing excruciating pain as he was taken to a local hospital.
His hand swelled up and his body started to tingle. His neighbour, Byron Bonilla, called 9-1-1 immediately. While Gomez is being treated with anti-venom, his mother says he may lose his hand. "His skin is already rotting away," Deborah described.
While Gomez' family says the mistake was his decision to go near the snake, the issue of rattlesnakes has been immense in 2015, due to the drought and the heat.
California Poison Control reports handling 800 rattlesnake bites per year, and one-to-two end up being fatal. Alex was bitten during peak rattlesnake bite season, which runs from April to October.
In July, another man from California was bitten by a rattlesnake while taking a selfie and had incurred a hefty hospital bill of over USD 150,000.
Todd Fassler's entire arm went purple after he yanked the rattlesnake from a bush and as he was composing the perfect shot it bit him.