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Local expert recounts rattlesnake bite after kayaker incident

Walter Kidd, owner of Serpentarium Magic, was bitten by a timber rattlesnake. "They couldn't hear my heartbeat with a stethoscope. It took them three days to tell me I was going to live," Kidd said. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A local man remained in critical condition after a rattlesnake bit him several times.

The snake bite happened during a kayaking trip in South Carolina.

News 13 spoke with Walter Kidd, owner of Serpentarium Magic, who had a first-hand experience with a rattlesnake bite.

"Famous last words, you know, alcohol was involved," Kidd said.

Kidd found a timber rattlesnake along a Western North Carolina highway.

"I got out to play with it. I literally stuck my finger in his mouth fooling with him," Kidd said. "[The bite] was a really numbing feeling."

Kidd went to the hospital within 30 minutes.

"They couldn't hear my heartbeat with a stethoscope. It took them three days to tell me I was going to live," Kidd said.

Two venomous types of snakes live in Western North Carolina — the timber rattlesnake and copperhead.

"Sixty to 70 percent of the time they don't even inject venom," Kidd said.

Instead, the snakes often save the venom for rodents.

"Rodents carry disease that are harmful to humans," Kidd said.

According to Kidd, people may see more rodents — and snakes — with all the rain.

"They'll probably be looking for dryer land and also prey," Kidd said.

Kidd said you may not actually see them, though, because they blend in well with the environment.

"In Western North Carolina, I bet everybody has walked by a timber rattlesnake or a copperhead and never knew it,” Kidd said.

Either way, Kidd said, do not attempt to touch or go near a rattlesnake.

"Just back away, leave it alone. He doesn't want to bother you. You don't want to bother him," Kidd said.

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