Rattlesnake bites Florida man who tries to kiss it

Witnesses say he was trying to kiss the snake before it bit him.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. -- A Bostwick man is in critical condition after a rattlesnake bit him Tuesday afternoon in Putnam County, authorities say.

Putnam County Fire Rescue responded to Airport Estates Road after getting a call about the snakebite around 4:30 p.m., says a fire rescue captain.

The man was conscious but had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

"He was bit in the tongue," one witness told 11Alive sister station First Coast News. "He was handling it. It was calm. He was drinking a little bit, was holding the snake, went to like kiss it, and it bit him."

Authorities believe the snake is an eastern diamondback rattlesnake. 

"They're going to try to eat as much as they can. this is the time of the year they're growing they're shedding they're traveling and mating," said a professional snake trapper.

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According to snake experts, snake bites are on the rise in the southeastern U.S. thanks to the mild winter. If you are bitten by a snake, experts said it's important to get to a hospital. 

Some tips on what NOT to do if you're bitten:

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few things you should definitely not do if you get bit by a snake.

  • Never assume the bite is not poisonous. Call 911 and report it. Don't be a hero.
  • Do not wash the bite. The venom can help identify the snake and tell doctors exactly what kind of anti-venom is needed.
  • Never apply a tourniquet or ice. The venom can become trapped in an extremity if too much pressure is applied, which could cause tissue damage.
  • DON’T try to suck the venom out yourself, experts say that just doesn't work.

Only about six venomous species are found in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources: Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Timber Rattlesnake, the Pigmy Rattlesnake, the Eastern Coral Snake and the Cottonmouth (also called the Water Moccasin). Of those, the Copperhead is most widely seen through much of metro Atlanta.

Some of the ones you've seen

Where can you expect to see snakes? Well, anywhere really, but especially in wooded areas and places where there are water supplies such as lakes or streams. Be especially wary in bushes or shrubs or if you're doing something like moving old wood. Snakes aren't looking for you, but if you sneak up on them, they might not be happy.

Here are some that were spotted in strange places:

PHOTOS | Snakes commonly seen in North Georgia

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