Congratulations Austin Hatfield. You've just won a gold medal at the Stupid Olympics, for doing something really, really, unbelievably, stupid with a snake.
On a list of things you shouldn't do with a dangerous snake, a Cottonmouth Snake in this particular incident, you would think that kissing it, on the mouth, would be right up there. No, not for Hatfield. He wasn't satisfied with merely keeping the snake in a pillowcase, he wanted something more from the relationship. Something...unnatural.
18-year-old Hatfield had captured the snake from his girlfriend's yard several days earlier. Yes, believe it or not, we can confirm Hatfield has/had a girlfriend.
According to sources, the teenage Floridian had been taking the snake out at various times during it's captivity and giving it a cheeky kiss on the mouth. Presumably, with some mood-setting Kenny G saxophone playing in the background.
On Saturday the 21st of April, however, it would seem that the snake had finally had enough of being some random dude's snog-puppet and fought back the only way it knew how (with it's face).
Jason Belcher, who witnessed the attack, had this to say:
"He (Austin) took it (the snake) out, and put it on his chest. It was acting funny, and it jumped up and got him. He ripped it off his face, threw it on the ground and he started swelling up immediately. It was pretty frightening."
Hatfield, the snake-kissing weirdo, was immediately transported to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition. Fortunately, for Austin, medical professionals have since revealed that he should make a full recovery. As well as prescribing him with some pain-killing medication, the doctors might want to suggest that he leaves his snake kissing days behind him.
Other than his weird snake fetish coming back to bite him on the face (literally), and causing intense venom-induced swelling on his face, I guess you could say that things have worked out well for the young American.
No, wait. That's not right. By anyone's standards, this is one seriously embarassing scenario. In fact, we'd go as far as to say, it's pretty much the most embarassing thing that's ever happened to any 18-year-old, anywhere, in human history.
Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), who once supported Neutral Milk Hotel at the Camden Roundhouse, told a bunch of gathered journalists that they are investigating the case and have euthanized the snake involved. We have to say, that does seem a little unfair on the snake.
According to FWC spokesman Gary Morse, Hatfield could face charges for illegally capturing and keeping the cottonmouth without a permit. Cottonmouths, also known as worm-tailed pitvipers, are considered highly dangerous. Morse added that anyone who comes across one should keep their distance (and avoid romantic relations).