A 22-year-old Manorville man bitten by a pet diamondback rattlesnake last week will likely suffer permanent injuries as a result of the bite, the Suffolk County SPCA said.
The unidentified man was bitten in the eyelid last Friday morning but didn’t call 911 until the evening, according to Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross. The man apparently passed out after the snake attack. It’s unclear how long he was unconscious.
“He’s lucky he didn’t die,” Gross said.
The man owned two pet rattlesnakes, Gross said. The one that bit him is a two-foot long diamondback rattlesnake, and the other, a prairie rattlesnake, is 16 inches long.
Rattlesnakes are illegal to own as pets. However, rattlesnakes can be kept legally for educational purposes, but only if a person or organization obtains a license.
Gross, who in recent years has dealt with an influx of alligators located in various Suffolk County communities, warned residents that rattlesnakes are extremely dangerous and should under no circumstances be kept as pets.
“Stay away from these [reptiles],” he said. “There’s a reason why they’re illegal; they’re unpredictable and they can be deadly.”
The man was bitten by a rattlesnake with “enough venom” to kill an adult, Gross noted.
The Suffolk SPCA and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation took possession of the snake and sent it to a reptile sanctuary out of state, officials said.
“Abandoned and dangerous reptiles and amphibians have become an all too common occurrence here on Long Island,” said Peter A. Scully, director of the DEC’s Long Island region. “All too often, individuals do not realize the difficulties and complications that arise from owning one of these animals.”
It’s unclear how the man acquired the snakes.
Gross asked residents to call the Suffolk SPCA 631-382-7722 or DEC at 1-877-457-5680 if they have information regarding anyone supplying rattlesnakes.