A Florida man was left hospitalized by a rattlesnake after he tried to give it a kiss.
Ron Reinold and another man were playing with the snake on May 16 when Reinold was bitten on the tongue, WJAX reports. Reinold's neighbor, Charles Goff, said that he had found the snake the night before and put it in a tank.
Goff said that the two men shouldn't have been playing with the snake, calling them irresponsible.
"The next morning before I got up, they were playing with the snake," said Goff. "One boy said, 'I'm going to kiss it in the mouth,' and the snake bit him in the face."
"Ron was just acting silly, you know?" Goff added. "I guess he said he could kiss the devil and get away with it, but evidently he didn't."
According to Goff, the men let the snake go after it bit Reinold. "So the snake is still out here running around somewhere," said the neighbor.
A 911 operator told a witness who called that the men should "drop the snake" back onto the road.
He added that the bite was probably extremely painful.
Reinold was flown to a hospital in critical condition after the incident, but his family said he is doing better and is expected to survive.
"He was put in a coma & was not supposed to wake up for days," wrote a family member on a social media post. "He woke up & is signing with his hands."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises that while rattlesnakes are not normally aggressive, they will attack if they feel threatened or if they are provoked. If they are given room to retreat, the USDA's guide on snakes says, the snakes will usually go away.
Most rattlesnake bites are on the hands, ankles or feet, and usually happen when someone handles the snake or accidentally touches it while walking.
Spring and summer, between April and October, are the most common time for rattlesnake bites, and the snakes can strike at any time of the night or day. Around a quarter of bites are "dry," meaning that the snake did not inject any venom, but all bites should be treated by medical professionals.
If bitten by a rattlesnake, the USDA warns against restricting blood flow with a tourniquet, icing the wound or sucking the poison out with your mouth -- these methods can cause more harm than good, and often result in body parts needing to be amputated.
Instead, the USDA recommends calling 911, washing the bite gently with water and soap, if possible, removing watches, rings and anything else that could constrict swelling, and keeping the bite below the heart until help comes.
Rattlesnake bites are rarely deadly, with under 1 in 600 bites proving fatal. However, the USDA suggests immediately seeking medical attention as soon as someone is bitten.