While buying a surprise gift for his wife, a North Carolina man was reportedly bitten by a venomous snake (video below).
Bill -- whose wife, Julie, asked that his family's last name not be used in the media -- was shopping for flowers for his wife on May 16 when he was bitten by a 4.5-foot copperhead snake at a Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Denver, North Carolina.
"I know he's in a lot of pain," Julie told WSOC-TV. "It has been rough. I have been worried."
Bill was reportedly in the gardening department when the snake attacked his lower forearm. The bite caused swelling and pain throughout his body.
"It a big ol' - it's like an egg is in his arm so it looks bad," the caller told 911, according to WBTV.
The 911 dispatcher gave some advice before paramedics arrived at the scene, saying to keep Bill from moving around, keep the affected area below heart level, and not apply ice or any sort of bandage.
"I think it's crazy," Julie told WSOC-TV. "I think it could have been avoided."
Bill was taken to Novant Huntersville hospital and given an anti-venom injection. He is currently in the intensive care unit but is expected to be okay.
The snake was killed with a shovel by store employees and placed in a bag so medical professionals could examine it.
"We like to be able to see the snake but I would encourage people not to expose themselves to the snake unless they are absolutely sure it is dead," Dr. Tommy Mason, an emergency physician at the hospital, said.
"I told him, ‘If you want me to, I could have it stuffed for you,'" Julie said. "I think he might stick with chocolates from now on and not flowers."
After the incident, store employees searched the garden center for any additional snakes.
"No other snakes have been found in the garden center since Monday afternoon, but we continue to monitor and have asked a pest control company to also come to the store to check," Lowe’s said in a statement to WBTV. "We're looking into possible causes, but at this time, don't know for certain how the snake got into the garden center."
The East Lincoln Fire Department wrote a Facebook post to warn residents that a similar incident could happen at any establishment that sells trees.