PHOTOS Florida man Austin Hatfield bitten by cottonmouth while kissing it

Florida man Austin Hatfield cottonmouth bite on the lip after kissing the snake

18-year-old Austin Hatfield of Ruskin, Florida was hospitalized and nearly died last week after he attempted to kiss a four-foot cottonmouth snake he had been keeping captive in a pillow case on his bed and the snake bit him on the lip.

The ill-fated hiss-kiss was not the first time Austin had been intimate with the water moccasin, as his friend Tim Belcher reveals. “Alright he’s kissed it 12 times. The 13 wasn’t a lucky one,” Tim told Bay News 9. “He kisses it right on the head. Right on the mouth. He’s not afraid of death,” Tim added.

Tim also spoke with WFTV and recalled the moment when the cottonmouth gave Austin a cotton face. “He took it out, put it on his chest and it was acting funny, and it jumped up and got him,” Tim said. “He ripped it off his face, threw it on the ground and he started swelling up immediately,” Belcher explains. Austin then reportedly bolted out of the bedroom and began yelling that he needed to go to the hospital.

Here is Austin and hissssss buddy prior to the incident:

Austin Hatfield cottonmouth bite

Austin was rushed to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition where he was given multiple rounds of antivenom in addition to being ventilated due to swelling closing off his airway.

Several rounds of antivenom had to be administered and Hatfield had to be ventilated because swelling had closed off his airway. “His condition has improved today and he is expected to recover,’ said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Adding insult to serious injury, once Austin recovers he may be arrested due to the fact that keeping a poisonous snake in captivity is illegal in Florida without a special permit. As you probably guessed, Austin did not have a special permit.

Austin Hatfield Facebook snake bite

Playing with, and even kissing, snakes is nothing new for Austin. In addition to the photo above, which also features a “Don’t Tread On Me” snake flag hanging on the wall (beside a rebel flag) in the background, Austin also posted a video on Facebook back in November in which he could be seen handling a black snake about three feet long. He captioned it, “Skills after it bit my right hand.”

Here’s a screen grab of Austin in the moment he gets to firsssssst bassssssssssse:

Florida teen Austin Hatfield kissing a snake

In the comments section Austin not only reveals he has played around with rattlesnakes in the past, but also does a bit of foreshadowing by revealing his hero:

Commenter: You are not the snake whisperer son put that thing down.

Austin: I did it with a rattle snake before LoL so I say I am lol

Commenter: It’s Steve Irwin…..he’s back!!!!! Go Jump on a crocodile

Austin: Croici mate lmao .. He was my idle . that’s why u do dumb sh!t like this ..

Kissing and handling snakes isn’t the only thing Austin is no stranger too as he is also no stranger to being arrested. Here is his mug shot photo from September when an alleged grand theft attempt “bit him in the ass:”

Cottonmouth bite victim Austin Hatfield mug shot

There is no record (that I could find) of Austin being charged for keeping a venomous snake in captivity.

And if you are wondering about the fate of the snake, it had to be killed so that it could be properly identified and the correct antivenom could be given to Austin.

On a random side note, this is the second story I’ve written about a person challenging a cottonmouth and losing. The previous story involved a snake handling preacher from the reality series Snake Salvation. Let’s hope Austin is the last.

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