What is in this article?:
- Two rattlesnakes bite Georgia crop consultant scouting soybean field
- First ER visit didn't stop the venom
- What are the chances of getting bit by two venomous snakes?
- Speculation on cause
- It was a Sept. 10 around 1:30 p.m. in a soybean field a few miles south of Shellman in southwest Georgia where crop consultant Kevin Cotton was bitten by two rattlesnakes.
- In total, it took 26 vials of antivenin, two different ER visits and four nights in the hospital to start to get over the snake bites.
- Across the country there are 7,000 venomous snake bites annually. The majority of those bites happen to people who handle the venomous snakes regularly, like zookeepers and pet owners.
CROP CONSULTANT Kevin Cotton in soybean field near Shellman, Ga., Oct. 28, the same field where he was bitten by two timber rattlesnakes at the same time six weeks earlier.
First ER visit didn't stop the venom
Things changed and weren’t going well later that Wednesday afternoon after returning to his home in Leesburg, Ga. “Told my wife I couldn’t feel my leg,” he said.
She took him to the region’s bigger hospital and ER in Albany, Ga. There, after being seen by a local surgeon, he was told they might have to cut his leg open. It was barely getting blood circulation and, well, that had to be fixed fast.
“I told the (surgeon) that I had a lot going on and it was a busy time for us right now and that I really couldn’t be laid up for long. … And that cutting the leg needed to be the very last option,” Cotton said. His High Cotton Consultants, Inc. services 15,000 acres each year around southwest Georgia, from cotton and soybeans to wheat and peanuts.
He got another 18 vials of antivenin and another three nights in the hospital. The surgeon also diagnosed, through his experience and from how the muscles were acting, that Cotton had been bitten twice and that it was most likely by timber rattlesnakes. He was released Saturday after the Tuesday snake bites.
A week after the bites, he was back in the fields. As he drove into the same field where he had gotten bitten, he saw a timber rattler on the road. “I unloaded my shotgun, then ran over it several times and then beat it with a stick,” he said. “The animal rights folks might not like that but they likely have never been bitten by two rattlesnakes.”
It took him several more weeks to get back up to speed. The area on his leg where the snakes bit still swells but for the most part looks fine.
Did he ever think he was going to die? “No, the bites were the least of the problems. It was everything after that that was rough,” he said. All told, and all the bills haven’t come in yet, Cotton figures his two-step dance with the serpents will end up costing more than $200,000. He has insurance.
“I’ve heard of one person getting bit by a venomous snake, but certainly not by two venomous snakes at the same time,” said John Jenson, snake biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, who has worked more than two decades in Florida and Georgia. “Certainly unusual and pretty certain nothing like it has been reported in Georgia before.”
Jensen hadn’t heard of Cotton's case until contacted by a reporter. Jensen and Cotton haven’t spoken … yet.