Man Bitten by Stowaway Snake

A man in Virginia returned home from a trip, started to unpack and was bitten by a rattlesnake that was in his duffel bag. He managed to zip the bag back up and call 911 — and is now recovering. How the snake — identified as a deadly canebrake rattler — got in his bag is still a mystery.

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SUSAN STAMBERG, host:

So you get home from a trip to South Carolina, you plop down your duffel bag, and the next day you start to unpack it, and wham, you're bitten by a rattlesnake.

That was Andrew Bacas' rude homecoming in Arlington County, Virginia this week. Mr. Bacas is a high-school crew coach. He'd just driven back from a spring break conditioning trip when he got bitten. He had the presence of mind to quickly re-zip his bag with the snake inside, and then he called 911.

After a trip to the hospital and some anti-venom, he's now recovering. As for the snake, rescue workers decided to freeze it. They used a 10-foot pole to unzip the bag a bit, and then they inserted the nozzle of a fire extinguisher. The remains were identified as a canebrake rattlesnake, one of the deadliest in this country.

Fortunately from Mr. Bacas, it was a juvenile whose venom doesn't pack the wallop of an adult. Now, how the snake hitched a ride in Andrew Bacas' luggage remains a mystery.

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