California man hospitalized after trying to take selfie with snake, may lose hand

LAKE ELSINORE, CALIF. (AP) - A California man who picked up a four-foot rattlesnake to take a selfie with it may lose his hand after the animal bit him.

KCBS-TV reports that 36-year-old Alex Gomez, of Lake Elsinore, snatched up the snake Monday at his family's ranch. The snake bit his hand which swelled. His neighbor called 911 and he was transported to an area hospital.

"I'm shocked that he would have that things around his neck," Alex's mother, Deborah, told the television station. "It could've bit his neck, and that would have been it. That's just being a fool."

Deborah said her son, a father of three, is being treated with anti-venom, but that the skin on his hand is damaged and "rotting away" and he may lose it.

"I told him the news people had been calling, and he said 'Mom, you better not', and I said 'I'm going to,'" the mother said. "I'm going to teach him a real good lesson when he gets home. No mercy for him."

California Poison Control reports dealing with 800 rattlesnake bites annually, with one to two cases being fatal. Gomez's snapshot happened in peak rattlesnake bite season, which runs from April to October. The rattlesnake population has increased because of California's ongoing drought.

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