08/06/2018 17:10 SAST | Updated 08/06/2018 17:10 SAST

Texas: Man Decapitates Snake, Snake's Head Bites Him Anyway, Man Nearly Dies

Rattlesnakes can frequently remain lethal after death, apparently.

A Texas, U.S. man nearly died after being bitten by the head of a rattlesnake that he had just decapitated.

Jennifer Sutcliffe said her husband was cleaning up their garden, when he came across the four-foot [1.24m] reptile and thought removing its head was the safest way to dispose of it.

It was not.

"That's kind of a classic mistake. People don't realise that reptiles and mammals are wired differently," snake expert Leslie Boyer told Gizmodo.

"The head end of a cut-up rattlesnake can continue to function, including the venom glands, for a long time afterwards — and in fact the other half continues to work. It'll rise and rattle."

Sutcliffe tried to drive her husband to hospital after he was bitten, but he began to have seizures in the car. They were met by an ambulance, and he was then airlifted to hospital.

Doctors had to administer 26 vials of antivenom.

His kidney function is now weak, but he is in a stable condition after the incident, which happened on May 28.

The most poisonous snake in the U.S. is the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, but its deadly venom rarely proves fatal, as effective antivenoms are readily available.

Around 8,000 Americans each year are bitten by a venomous snake, but only around one in 10,000 of them die.