17-Year-Old Bitten by Rattlesnake in His Home—Where It Was Hiding

The venomous reptile took an Oklahoma boy by surprise in the middle of the night.

It's not at all uncommon to come across snakes when you're out enjoying nature, especially as most people know to keep an eye out for any possible risks. However, it's entirely different when you're safely indoors at home and not expecting to be taken by surprise. But despite our best efforts, snakes can sometimes find their way into our living spaces—even some potentially dangerous venomous species. This includes one recent incident in which a 17-year-old boy was bitten by a rattlesnake in his home. Read on to see where it was hiding and how you can hopefully keep yourself safe.

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An Oklahoma boy was bitten by a rattlesnake that snuck into his bedroom.

A close up of a pygmy rattlesnake on the ground
iStock / cturtletrax

We've all run into mishaps while trying to make our way around the house in the middle of the night. But on July 26, 17-year-old Johnathan Church came across a very unpleasant surprise after getting out of bed to fetch himself a glass of water, local Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR reports.

While walking towards his door, the boy felt something bite his foot. It was then he realized that a pygmy rattlesnake had snuck into his bedroom and had been coiled on his floor.

"It was shocking and terrifying," Church told KFOR. "The pain at first was, like, a five out of 10."

The boy's family says it's not unusual to come across the reptiles on the 40-acre farm they live on in Oklahoma. "I was kind of panicked because we get a lot of snakes, but we haven't actually gotten bit by one yet, so I was a little petrified," the boy's mother, Diana Church, told the news outlet.

The boy's mother reacted quickly, and he's expected to make a full recovery.

Patient sleeping in hospital bed.

Fortunately, Diana's experience as a former nurse helped her react quickly to the emergency. "We were afraid that it would swell more and he would lose his foot or at least get some damage from the bite," she told KFOR.

But once doctors were able to inspect his foot, they found there was just a single puncture wound, meaning that only one of the snake's fangs had managed to pierce Jonathan's skin and had injected less venom. Diana told KFOR that while he might need crutches for a bit, he would likely be released from the hospital soon, pending some bloodwork.

While Jonathan admitted he's excited to be able to tell friends at school about the incident, he's still going to take away a lesson. "I'm still terrified of snakes, of course," he said. "And, well, I don't want to ever get near one again."

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A San Diego man also recently suffered a rattlesnake bite on his property.

An eastern diamondback rattlesnake crawling over some freshly cut grass in southern Florida.

But this wasn't the only recent incident involving a run-in with a venomous reptile. On July 20, a 60-year-old man was bitten by a snake while walking through his backyard in San Diego, California, around 9 p.m., local ABC affiliate KGTV reports.

Unfortunately, the victim had a severe reaction to the venom and went into anaphylactic shock on his way to the hospital. Doctors intubated the man and put him in the ICU to begin antivenom treatment for the injury.

The man's family called professionals to remove the reptile from the backyard, who determined it was a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. According to Alex Trejo, the owner of So-Cal Rattlesnake Removal that responded to the situation, both the bite and the medical emergency are relatively rare occurrences.

"It is not their behavior to bite. That is a last-ditch effort for them; snakes just want to be left alone," he told KGTV.

Here's how to protect yourself from rattlesnake bite risk.

rattlesnake sticking out tongue
Shutterstock/Susan M Snyder

Even if there are some methods to deter snakes from coming onto your property or into your home, there's no way to guarantee you won't come across one at some point. That's why experts suggest exercising caution if you live someplace where rattlesnakes are a concern.

Because of how they regulate their body temperature, rattlesnakes are likelier to be out and active earlier in the morning and in the evening when it's slightly cooler and less sunny, Trejo told KGTV. He says it's best to avoid leaving any clutter in your yard that the reptiles or their rodent prey could use as hiding places and not to leave water out overnight that could attract them. And as always, make sure to keep a keen eye out for any snakes that could be hiding or lying around your property.

If you do accidentally come too close, Trejo says it's essential to stay calm and get medical attention immediately. And if you come across a rattlesnake on your property that doesn't appear to be leaving, you should call a professional to deal with the situation.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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