Beheaded rattlesnake bite hospitalizes man

PROSSER, Wash. (AP) - There's plenty of poison left in a rattlesnake's mouth, even if someone has separated the head from the body.

Danny Anderson found that out the hard way.

Monday night, a 5-foot rattlesnake slithered onto his property, about 50 miles from Yakima, Washington. He and his son pinned it with a pipe and cut off its head with a shovel. When the 53-year-old Anderson reached down to pick up the head, he says it did a backflip and bit his finger.

It's a good thing his wife insisted they go to the hospital because by the time they got there, his tongue was swollen and the venom was spreading.

A fish-and-wildlife biologist says it was probably a reflex action by the snake.

Anderson says if it happens again, no more picking the head up. He says he'll bury the snake right there.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)