List of fatal snake bites in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of some people who were fatally bitten by snakes in the United States by decade in reverse chronological order. It is not a comprehensive list.

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) kills the most people in the US, with the western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) ranking second.[1] However, some authorities believe the western diamondback is responsible for the most deaths.[2][3]

Snake species[edit]

The United States has about 30 species of venomous snakes, which include 23 species of rattlesnakes, three species of coral snakes, two species of cottonmouth, and two species of copperhead. At least one species of venomous snake is found in every state except Hawaii, Maine, Rhode Island,[4] and Alaska. Timber Rattlesnakes once lived in Rhode Island and a small area of southern Maine; however, they have been extirpated from both states.

It has been estimated that 7,000–8,000 people per year receive venomous snake bites in the United States, and about five of those people die.[5] Though most fatal bites are attributed to rattlesnakes, the copperhead accounts for more snakebite incidents than any other venomous North American species. Rattlesnake bites, by comparison, are approximately four times as likely to result in a death or major effects as a copperhead bite.[6]

Venomous snakes are distributed unevenly throughout the United States — the vast majority of snake bites occur in warm weather states. States like Florida and Texas have a wide variety and large population of venomous snakes. Bites from venomous snakes are extremely rare in the states near the Canada–US border. Maine, for example, theoretically has only one species (timber rattlesnake); it is rarely seen, and then only in the southern part of the state, and the species is likely extirpated in Maine, with the last sighting in 1901.[7]

21st century[edit]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
William H. "Marty" Martin, 80, male August 3, 2022 Timber rattlesnake Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Martin, a respected snake researcher, was bitten by a captive snake at his home.[8]
Simon Currat, 6, male July 5, 2022 Rattlesnake Colorado Springs, Colorado. Currat was bitten while riding his bike with his family in Bluestem Prairie Open Space. He collapsed immediately and paramedics were summoned. Despite medical treatment, he died five days later at Children's Hospital Colorado.[9]
Eugene Roberto DeLeon, 60, male April 30, 2022 Rattlesnake Freer, Texas. DeLeon, a "veteran snake handler" with Snake Busters Snake Handlers was bitten by a rattlesnake on April 30, 2022, while performing at an annual show in Freer, Texas, according to his family. DeLeon was flown to a hospital in Corpus Christi where he later died.
David Riston, 49, male January 19, 2022 Unknown Pomfret, Maryland. Riston was found dead in his home in which he kept 124 snakes including black mambas, cobras, and rattlesnakes. The Maryland Department of Health confirmed that he died of snake envenomation.[10]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Priscilla Meridith, 62, female June 12, 2019 Timber rattlesnake Waverly, Georgia. Meridith was bitten by a rattlesnake while in a friend's garden on May 17 when she went to sit down. She was in a medically induced coma for several weeks until her death on June 12. Meridith was not able to receive antivenom due to her allergies, which doctors said would have put her life at risk.

Current research has shown that antivenom can be administered safely even to individuals with allergies if managed properly Debunking the myth that antivenom cannot be used on allergic patients

Oliver "Chum" Baker, 52, male May 25, 2019 Copperhead Winston County, Alabama. Baker was at his home near Lewis Smith Lake when he was bitten by a copperhead snake and lost consciousness within 2 minutes. CPR was performed and he was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. Baker was later airlifted to Huntsville Hospital, where he died on May 27.[11][12]
Lawrence Walters, 70, male June 4, 2018 Rattlesnake Spearfish, Lawrence County, South Dakota. Walters was playing golf at the Elkhorn Ridge Golf Course in Spearfish. He was looking for a ball in tall grass when he was bitten on the ankle. He was rushed back to the clubhouse in a cart where another employee performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, but was pronounced dead at Spearfish hospital.[13]
Barry Lester, 57, male April 29, 2018 Rattlesnake Osage County, Oklahoma. Lester was driving down a road when he spotted the rattlesnake. He tried to move it to safety but was bitten on both hands. Lester collapsed shortly thereafter and was pronounced dead.[14]
Daniel Hohs, 31, male October 7, 2017 Rattlesnake Hohs was bitten on the ankle while hiking near Golden, Colorado. He was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and was pronounced dead the following day.[15]
Wayne Grooms, 71, male June 12, 2016 Rattlesnake (likely timber rattlesnake) Grooms was in the Santee National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina when a rattlesnake bit his lower left leg.[16] He collapsed and died within 15 minutes. He may have had an undisclosed condition which contributed to the severity of his reaction to the bite.[17]
John David Brock, 60, male July 28, 2015 Unknown (likely timber rattlesnake) Brock, a preacher from Stoney Fork, Kentucky,[18] was bitten in the left arm during a religious service at the Mossie Simpson Pentecostal Church in Jenson, Kentucky. He refused treatment and died in his brother's home.[19]
Russell E. Davis, 39, male July 19, 2015 Timber rattlesnake Davis was sitting by a fire at his family's camp in Elk County, Pennsylvania, when he was bitten by a rattlesnake. He was taken to a hospital and from there airlifted to a Pittsburgh-area hospital. While in the helicopter, Davis suffered a cardiac arrest and was subsequently pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital. The cause of death was an anaphylactic reaction from the snake's venom. No autopsy was performed and the death was ruled accidental.[20]
Grant Thompson, 18, male July 14, 2015 Monocled cobra Thompson was found unresponsive in his car in a Lowe's store parking lot in Austin, Texas. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. A monocled cobra that he was known to own was missing and was later found dead nearby, having been run over by a car [21] An autopsy was performed and Thompson's death was ruled a suicide.[22]
Gilbert De Leon, 37, male May 23, 2015 Cottonmouth De Leon was bitten on each leg while wading in the James River near Nixa, Missouri. After the bite, he did not seek medical attention and died the next day. The county coroner stated the cause of death listed on the death certificate states "Undetermined" because De Leon also had a lethal level of the narcotic oxycodone in his system, along with alcohol and a non-lethal level of hydrocodone.[23]
David Giles, 59, male May 20, 2015 Unknown, but likely rattlesnake Giles, of Watkinsville, Georgia, was bitten while he was alone in Arnoldsville, Georgia. He normally carried a snakebite kit but did not have it with him this time. He drove to a nearby house to seek help, and collapsed.[24]
Timothy Levins, 52, male July 8, 2014 Copperhead While camping at Sam A. Baker State Park in Missouri, Levins walked outside, saw a snake, and brought it to his son's attention. When he picked it up, the snake bit him. Levins walked back into the cabin, washed his hand at the kitchen sink and sat down on the couch. When he became sick, someone from a neighboring cabin came over to help and performed CPR. Levins was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.[25]
Brayden Bullard, 4, male June 20, 2014 Timber rattlesnake Bitten while planting watermelons in his backyard in Bryceville, Florida.[26] He was rushed to the hospital, but died 2 weeks later[27]
Jamie Coots, 42, male February 15, 2014 Rattlesnake Coots was bitten on the right hand during a service at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, Kentucky. After the bite, Coots dropped the snakes, but then picked them back up and continued the ceremony. Later, he was driven to his home. When paramedics arrived, his relatives refused medical treatment for him, saying it was inconsistent with his religion. He died at home.
Daniel Frank Mitchell, 53, male September 20, 2013 Rattlesnake (probably eastern diamondback, but possibly timber) Salem, Alabama[28]
Ernest Burch, 80, male July 2, 2013[29] Timber rattlesnake Burch found the snake in his garage in Armuchee, Georgia. Not wanting to kill it, he tried moving it out with a broom but lost his balance, fell on top of the snake, and was bitten on his left arm. He was rushed to the hospital and received eight vials of antivenom, but died 30 hours later.[30]
Jack Redmond, 70, male October 2, 2012 Unknown He was likely killed by one of the 24 venomous snakes he kept in his home in Chesterfield, Virginia.[31]
Terry Brown, 50, male July 2012 Copperhead Brown died of a heart attack one day after he was bitten by a copperhead snake while camping on the Current River, Missouri. The coroner's office listed the cause of death as a heart attack, with the snake bite as a contributing factor. Witnesses told investigators that Brown had seen a snake in one of the tents and was trying to remove it when the snake bit him on the right thumb.[32]
Mark Randall Wolford, 44, male May 28, 2012 Timber rattlesnake Wolford was bitten on the thigh while handling a timber rattlesnake as part of an outdoor religious service at Panther State Forest in McDowell County, West Virginia.[33][34] Wolford did not initially seek medical treatment for his injury, but was taken to Bluefield Regional Medical Center when his condition began to deteriorate some eight hours later.[33] Wolford was a pastor and often handled his pet snake during church services.[33] Wolford's father, Mack Wolford, died in 1983 under similar circumstances.[35]
Aleta Stacy, 56, female June 2011 presumably Black Mamba Found dead in her home in Putnam Co., NY. She illegally kept numerous venomous snakes in her home, one of which was a Black Mamba.[36]
Mark Shaw, 47, male April 5, 2011 Rattlesnake (probably western diamondback, but possibly timber) Shaw was bitten by a rattlesnake he was trying to kill in Bastrop County, Texas.[37]
Wade Westbrook, 26, male January 29, 2011 Copperhead Westbrook was bitten just above the right elbow while handling a copperhead; he had been attempting to determine the snake's sex.[38] According to witnesses, he "tried to extract the venom with a tool after he was bitten, then he began coughing and vomiting before he collapsed."[39] Westbrook was pronounced dead on arrival at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee.[39] The cause of death was determined to be "anaphylactic shock as a result of the snake bite." Westbrook had been bitten previously by a Copperhead, which may have made him hypersensitive to snake venom.[39]
William Price, 67, male October 13, 2010 Rattlesnake, probably a Southern Pacific rattlesnake Price was bitten above the right ankle while wading across a stream near Cuyamaca Reservoir in Cuyamaca, California.[40] He had been taking part in a study of steelhead trout that was funded by a state Department of Fish and Game grant.[40] According to witnesses, Price "stopped breathing within minutes" of being bitten. The bite marks on his foot were reportedly an inch and a half across.[40] Price was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center, but later died.
Peyton Hood, 1, female Aug. 11, 2010 Western diamondback rattlesnake Accidentally stepped on baby Western Diamondback while climbing down ladder at Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas. The snake struck her main artery.[41] She was rushed to the hospital, but died within a few hours.[42]
Eddie Lee Dorminey, 82, male May 21, 2010 Rattlesnake Enigma, Georgia. Dorminey was changing a lawnmower belt when he was bitten several times on his wrist.[43]
George Yancy, 35, male May 9, 2010 Rattlesnake (probably western diamondback, but possibly timber) Yancy was bitten while pulling up his pants in Smithville, Texas.[37]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Richard Rupert, 68, male October 10, 2009 Timber rattlesnake Rupert was hunting with his grandson in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.[44]
Pamela Summers, 47, female ~ May 23, 2008 likely a Timber rattlesnake After being treated for a presumed Timber rattlesnake envenomation (due to species endemic to the area and bite characteristics) inflicted through denim and upon her right leg while trimming weeds in her yard on or about Friday, May 23, 2008, Summers spent the night in a local ER ICU and returned home the following day with aftercare orders. Summers died a week later at her Marion, North Carolina home from complications of the bite. Medically presumed to have succumbed to the bite on or about the afternoon of Friday, May 23, 2008, Summers was discovered dead in her home, apparently from complications due to the bite, several days later on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2008.
James David Bear, 37, male January 29, 2008 Timber rattlesnake Bitten on his right thumb at his mobile house. The canebrake rattlesnake that bit him was one of 179 snakes he kept and bred in various containers and 84 of the snakes were venomous species.[45]
Jackie Ledwell, 63, female October, 2007 Mojave rattlesnake Ledwell was bitten while taking a walk in Paulden, Arizona.[46]
Douglas John Hiler, 48, male September 1, 2007 Timber rattlesnake Hiler was bitten on his left hand while attempting to cut off the rattles from what he thought was a dead snake that he came across in the road while driving near Cleveland, Georgia. Medical help was summoned immediately but took 45 minutes to arrive. He survived in intensive care for 42 days before succumbing to the effects. He was reportedly very allergic to bee stings and poison ivy.[47]
Linda Long, 48, female November 5, 2006 Rattlesnake Long died after being bitten by a snake during a serpent-handling service at church.[48]
Inocencio Hernandez-Hernandez, 29, male June 10, 2006 Eastern coral snake Hernandez-Hernandez became the first person to die in the United States from a fatal coral snake bite since 1967. He and Jesus Moreida, both of Bonita Springs, Florida, were bitten by a coral snake they tried to kill.[49]
Joe Guidry, 54, male October 2005 Eastern diamondback rattlesnake Guidry, the Putnam County, Florida, fire marshal, went to help a neighbor who had spotted a rattlesnake while mowing grass. He shot at the snake; it went under a shed, and Guidry was bitten when he reached for it.[50]
Marcus Wolf, 35, male September 12, 2005 Rattlesnake Wolf, a German tourist, was bitten while hiking near Willcox, Arizona.[51]
Margaret Wilson White, 54, female July 2005 Rattlesnake White was bitten in Hays County, Texas, near Wimberley along Ranch to Market Road 12, about a quarter mile west of County Road 213.[52][53][54]
Alexandria Hall, 44, female September 6, 2004 Urutu pit viper (Bothrops alternatus) Bitten at her home and died two days later from bleeding in the brain.[55][56]
Trent Leprette, 31, male June 20, 2004 Copperhead Leprette was bitten on each hand while swimming in Saugahatchee Creek near Loachapoka, Alabama, on June 16, 2004. He was admitted to East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika; he developed complications and died after several days of treatment.[57]
Dwayne Long, 45, male April 12, 2004 Rattlesnake Rev. Dwayne Long was bitten in a finger by a rattlesnake during a religious service at his church in Jonesville, Virginia on April 11, 2004. He did not seek medical treatment and died the next day.[58][59]
Michael Peterman, 34, male August 5, 2003 rhinoceros viper Peterman, a 14-year veteran of the Dayton, Ohio Fire Department, an "experienced snake and lizard collector and the 'go to' guy for the facility's envenomation issues", was bitten by a rhinoceros viper from his personal collection. He was taken to UC Medical Center / University Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, and died the following day due to an ostensible / reported inability to locate the requisite antivenin for the species, this despite the likelihood of what should have been normal bite protocol preparation / supply storage for a collector of Peterman's reputation and stature as well as his affiliation with the Dayton, Ohio EMS / Fire Department and his close proximity to the Cincinnati Zoo, which housed a significant herpetological collection of its own. The rhino viper was removed and rehoused with the Kentucky Reptile Zoo in Slade, KY, after Peterman's death. Peterman's relatively close proximity to both of the foregoing facilities along with established and experienced airlift antivenin sharing protocols and what should have been adequate rhino viper antivenin supplies should have well served Peterman's immediate antivenin needs as well as outreach support to cover supplies while searching for addition antivenin should such prove necessitous, yet for whatever undetermined and/or undisclosed reasons extant at the time, such supplies were evidently left unmet. It is noteworthy to mention that the handler that removed the rhino viper from Peterman's collection and transferred it to the Slade, Kentucky collection was very experienced in handling venomous exotics and in fact this particular species itself, yet the snake even presented as considerably problematic to this experienced handler as well.
Ross Cooke, 50, male May 2003 Southern Pacific rattlesnake Cooke was killed in Lyle Creek, San Bernardino County, California, having stepped on a snake he mistook for a log.[60]
Pat Hughes, 45, male August 2002 Rattlesnake Hughes was bitten on the finger by a small snake in his own garage. He was admitted to Sierra Vista Regional Health Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and treated with antivenom, but died of "complications associated with the bite".[61]
Audrey McIntosh, 18, female August 31, 2001 Crotalid McIntosh, of Folkston, Georgia, was doing laundry inside her home on August 31, 2001, when she was bitten. According to Ray Morgan, director of emergency management services for Charlton County, McIntosh ran nearly a half mile to a neighbor's house to call authorities because she didn't have a telephone. The snake escaped, so EMS officials could not determine what type it was other than to establish that it was a crotalid (pit viper). McIntosh was flown to Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, Georgia, where she later succumbed to the effects of the envenomation.
Derek Lema, 2, male September 16, 2000 Eastern diamondback rattlesnake Lema was bitten in the thigh by a rattlesnake while helping his father, Victor Lema, in their Lakewood Ranch, Florida, backyard.[62]
Darrell Fee, 45, male August 29, 2000 Timber rattlesnake Darrell Fee, a resident of Rose Hill, Virginia, was bitten in the chest by a timber rattlesnake during a religious service at a church near LaFollette, Tennessee. He did not seek medical treatment and did not want the authorities in the area to find out about the snakebite he received. He later died from the snakebite.[63]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Anita Finch, 33, female Reported December 17, 1999 Gaboon viper or hog-nosed sand viper Finch was bitten by either of these snakes she kept as pets in her Van Nuys, California, home.[64]
John Wayne "Punkin" Brown Jr., 34, male October 3, 1998 Rattlesnake Brown was bitten while handling rattlesnake during a religious service in Macedonia, Alabama. He had reportedly survived 22 previous snake bites. Brown's wife, Melinda, had been killed by a snake during a religious service three years earlier, in August 1995. The Browns left five children orphaned.[65]
Daril Ray Collins, 23, male December 14, 1997 Probably rattlesnake Collins was bitten during a religious service in the community of Arjay, Bell County, Kentucky.[66][67][68]
Melinda Brown, 28, female August 8, 1995 Rattlesnake Brown was bitten while handling a snake during a religious service in Middlesboro, Kentucky, on August 6, 1995. She died two days later. Brown's husband, John Wayne "Punkin" Brown, was killed by snake during a religious service in 1998.[69]
Kale Saylor, 77, male March 8, 1995 Rattlesnake Saylor, a Pentecostal preacher, was bitten while handling a rattlesnake during a religious service in Bell County, Kentucky. Saylor figured prominently in David Kimbrough's 2002 book, Taking Up Serpents: Snake Handlers of Eastern Kentucky [70]
Dewey Bruce Hale, 40, male January 15, 1995 Rattlesnake Hale was bitten on the hand while removing a rattlesnake from a box during a religious service in Enigma, Georgia.[71] He refused medical treatment and died nine hours later at his home.[72]
Brian Leslie West, 25, male May 29, 1992 Indian cobra Mr. West, who resided in Emmitsburg, Maryland, had a state permit to keep more than two dozen snakes. He was tending an Indian Cobra in his basement when the snake bit him on the foot. Five minutes later he went into cardiac arrest and never awoke. He was pronounced dead an hour later at Frederick Memorial Hospital.[73][74]
Ray Johnson, 52, male December 2, 1991 Timber rattlesnake Johnson, a resident of Galax, Virginia, was bitten twice in his left wrist by a timber rattlesnake in the Church of the Lord Jesus in Jolo, West Virginia. He refused medical treatment and died thirteen hours later.[75]
Jimmy Ray Williams Jr, 28, male July 13, 1991 Timber rattlesnake Jimmy Ray Williams Jr, a resident of Spring Creek, North Carolina, died after being bitten by a timber rattlesnake during a religious service in the House of Prayer in Jesus Name in Morristown, Tennessee. His father died in 1973 after drinking strychnine during a religious service in the nearby Carson Springs Holiness Church in Jesus Name.[76]
Arnold Loveless, 48, male April 9, 1990 Rattlesnake Arnold Lee Loveless died after being bitten in the jaw by a rattlesnake during a religious service at the Church of Jesus Christ in Cartersville, Georgia.[63][77]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Curtis Davison, 22, male August 19, 1989 Eastern diamondback rattlesnake Davison was bitten on the top of his right hand as he transferred a six-foot rattlesnake from one cage to another at Silver Springs Nature Park near Ocala, Florida.[78]
Glenn R. Alexander, 29, male March 25, 1987 Rattlesnake Alexander was bitten during the 23rd Annual Brownwood Rattlesnake Roundup in Brownwood, Texas, on March 21, 1987, and died four days later.[79]
Shirley McLeary, 38, female February 13, 1986 Eastern diamondback rattlesnake Shirley McLeary of Toledo, Ohio died seven hours after being bitten multiple times by an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake during a religious service for her uncle's funeral in Baxter, Kentucky. She did not seek medical treatment, as the other church members were praying to perform a "faith-healing attempt" on her.[80]
Charles Herman Prince, 47, male August 19, 1985 Unknown Rev. Charles Prince of Canton, North Carolina was bitten multiple times by a snake during a religious service in the Apostolic Church of God near Greeneville, Tennessee. He also drank strychnine during that religious service.[81] He refused medical treatment and died 36 hours later.[82][83]
Richard Barrett, 50, male July 1984 Rattlesnake Richard Barrett was bit by rattlesnake while handling five venomous snakes during a religious service at Wade's Chapel in Cartersville, Georgia. He refused medical treatment, was taken to the pastor's home nearby the church, died approximately seven hours later.[84]
Mack Ray Wolford, 39, male August 28, 1983 Timber rattlesnake Wolford was bitten on the arm by a timber rattlesnake during religious services at the Lord Jesus Temple in Mile Branch, near Iaeger, West Virginia.[35] Wolford did not initially seek medical treatment.[85] An ambulance was summoned eight hours after Wolford had been bitten, but he died during transport to Stevens Clinic in Welch, West Virginia.[35] Wolford's son, Mark Wolford, died in 2012 under similar circumstances.[33]
John Holbrook, 38, male August 1982 Rattlesnake Reverend Holbrook was bitten while handling a rattlesnake during religious services in Oceana, West Virginia.[35][86] Holbrook reportedly refused medical assistance because his religion did not permit it.[35][86]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Gregory Lee Hall, 3, male May 31, 1976 Copperhead Bitten on the right hand by a copperhead he picked while playing near his home in Jacksonville, Alabama, on May 31, 1976.[87]
Curtis Mounts, 61, male May 19, 1974 Rattlesnake Mounts was bitten on the right arm while handling a snake during a religious service in Bens Run, West Virginia, on May 16, 1974. He died three days later.[88]
Richard Lee Williams, 33, male April 2, 1974 Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Rev. Williams, of Columbus, Ohio, was bitten while handling a snake during a religious service in Switzer, West Virginia, on April 4, 1974.[89]
Shirley Wagers, 72, male October 28, 1973 Rattlesnake Wagers was bitten by a rattlesnake during a religious service in the Pentecostal Holiness Church near London, Kentucky. He died from the bite nearly eight hours later at his home.[90]
Gordon D. Ball, 34, male August 5, 1973 Rattlesnake Ball was presumably bitten by a snake, possibly a massasauga, while traveling alone through Bergen-Byron Swamp on a "picture-taking expedition".[91] A five-day police search recovered Ball's body from a small clearing "near Warboys Road, on the swamp's northern perimeter."[91] An autopsy report listed snakebite as the presumptive cause of death.[91][92]
Beulah Bucklen, 59, female September 24, 1972 Rattlesnake Bucklen, of Charleston, West Virginia, was bitten while handling a snake during a religious service in Fraziers Bottom, West Virginia, on September 16, 1972. She died eight days later.[93]
Susan Mary Gaboury, 34, female September 13, 1972 Probably an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake While driving near St. Augustine, Florida, Gaboury had stopped to relieve herself in the bushes beside the road. Thinking she had been pricked by a spiny plant, possibly the Spanish bayonet, she went to the emergency room, where she was treated for an allergic reaction and released. She returned home and was found dead the next morning. A snake expert determined from the size of the bite that Gaboury had likely been bitten by a diamondback rattler.[94]
Bryan L. Bristow, 28, male December 29, 1971 Cottonmouth Bristow had been collecting snakes in a bag when he was bitten on the hand by a cottonmouth moccasin in Garyville, Louisiana, on December 29, 1971.[95]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
James Saylor, 24, male February 20, 1967 Rattlesnake Bitten while handling a rattlesnake during a religious service in Covington, Kentucky, on February 19, 1967.[96]
Wesley Howard Dickinson, 45, male July 10, 1966 King cobra An experienced herpetologist, Dickinson was bitten while force-feeding an 8-foot Indian king cobra in Santa Ana, California, on July 10, 1966. Dickinson had previously survived bites from other cobras, rattlesnakes, a cottonmouth and a Gila monster.[97]
Frederick A. Shannon, 43, male August 31, 1965 Mojave rattlesnake Bitten on a finger of his left hand by Mojave rattlesnake while collecting specimens near Klondyke, Arizona, on August 29, 1965. Shannon was one of the foremost American herpetologists, a physician and an expert on snakebite, having coauthored a manual for the U.S. armed services. He died on August 31, 1965, after being airlifted to a hospital in Los Angeles.[98]
Donald Bebis, 1, male August 4, 1965 Rattlesnake 15-month-old Don Bebis was playing in the yard at his home in Cat Creek, Montana, when he was bitten on both legs on August 4, 1965.[99]
Jerry de Bary, 37, male January 27, 1964 African puff adder De Bary, the director of the Salt Lake City Zoo, was bitten on the left forearm by a South African puff adder when he opened the cage to tend to the animal.[100]
Columbia Gay Hagerman, 22, female September 28, 1961 Timber rattlesnake Hagerman was bitten on the right thumb during her first snake handling at a church service in Jolo, West Virginia. She declined medical assistance and died at her parents' home. Her parents had previously been bitten several times by copperheads and rattlesnakes, recovering each time without seeking treatment. Her older brother, Dewey Chafin, has been bitten by various venomous snakes over 100 times throughout his life [101] and died in 2015 at age 82.[102]
Jimmy Cornell, 14, male March 15, 1961 Eastern diamondback rattlesnake Bitten on the hand by diamondback rattler while reaching into a gopher hole in Fort Myers, Florida, on March 11, 1961. He died four days later.[103]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
David P. Henson, 74, male July 26, 1959 Rattlesnake Rev. Henson, described as an "elderly minister" in the Free Holiness Church, was bitten on the hand while handling a rattlesnake during a religious service in Robinwood, Alabama. Relatives report that he had been handling snakes for "more than 30 years" and that he had survived several bites during that time.[104]
Percy Miller Jr., 13, male June 10, 1958 Rattlesnake Miller, a 13-year-old boy from Bluffton, South Carolina, was reportedly bitten by a rattlesnake around June 4, 1958, and then succumbed to the effects of the bite 6 days later on June 10 at a nearby Ridgeland, South Carolina hospital, according to SC Certificate of Death #58008751.
Karl P. Schmidt, 67, male September 26, 1957 Boomslang Schmidt, a renowned herpetologist, died in Chicago while documenting the effects of a venomous bite of a snake he was trying to identify. The snake was later identified as a juvenile African boomslang.[105]
Irene Raub, 18, female July 5, 1956 Indian Cobra Raub, an 18-year-old woman from LaPlace, Louisiana, was bitten by an Indian Cobra on July 5, 1956, after handling the animal unsupervised at a LaPlace, Louisiana "Snake Farm" roadside attraction managed by her uncle. Raub succumbed to the effects of the bite several hours later in an iron lung at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. In an effort to save Raub, Bill Haast boarded a Navy jet in Miami and attempted to reach Raub in Louisiana in time for a blood transfusion but Raub died shortly after the jet took off.
Anna Marie Yost, 46, female August 29, 1955 Rattlesnake Bitten on the arm while handling a rattlesnake during a religious service in Savannah, Tennessee, on August 29, 1955. Her brother, Mansel Covington, a well-known snake handler, was bitten on both hands during the same service but survived. The event is recounted in writer Dennis Covington's 1995 book, Salvation on Sand Mountain.[106]
George Went Hensley, 74, male July 25, 1955 Unknown Hensley died from a bite sustained while handling snakes during a religious service in Florida.
Frieda Hoxter, 25, female March 6, 1955 Cobra A German immigrant to the U.S., performing as "Princess Naja" at a night club in Baltimore, Maryland, was bitten by one of two cobras she used in her performance. She died at St. Joseph's Hospital, where she had been hospitalized previously for earlier snakebites.[107][108]
Elouise Orr, 9, female June 15, 1954 Rattlesnake 9-year-old Elouise Orr was bitten by a rattlesnake while at her home near Ridgeland, South Carolina, according to SC Death Certificate Record. The attending physician noted that they began treating Elouise at approximately 9 am, one hour after the bite occurred, and that she succumbed to the effects of the bite 10 hours later at around 7 pm.
Karen Perry, 1, female June 26, 1953 Rattlesnake 15-month-old Perry was playing in the backyard of her home in Tujunga, California, when she was bitten on the hand by a "pencil thin", 18-inch-long rattlesnake.[109]
Elbert L. Thornton Sr., 67, male July 31, 1952 Rattlesnake Certificate of Death indicates individual was bit on July 30, 1952, in Beaufort, South Carolina, while working on a farm. Thornton died the next day at a Ridgeland, SC hospital.
Nathaniel Akins, 25, male August 18, 1951 Rattlesnake Bitten by a "giant rattlesnake" while cutting pulpwood alongside the Orlando Highway in Kissimmee, Florida, on Augusta 18, 1951.[110]
Ruthie Craig, 50, female July 15, 1951 Rattlesnake Bitten on the right forearm while handling a rattlesnake during a religious service in New Hope, Alabama, on July 15, 1951.[111]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Ben Padgett, 26, male September 2, 1949 Rattlesnake Bitten below the left knee while cutting trees near Maxville, Florida, on September 2, 1949[112]
Grace Olive Wiley, 64, female July 20, 1948 Indian cobra Wiley, an experienced herpetologist, who was known as the "Queen of the Cobras" for her work in the movie industry, was posing for a photograph with a juvenile cobra when she was bitten after a flashbulb startled the snake. Cypress, California[113]
Mrs. Floyd Butterbaugh, 22, Female July 18, 1947 Timber rattlesnake Mrs. Butterbaugh was bitten by a timber rattler at her home on Piney Creek, 12 miles east of Chillicothe, Ohio near the Tar Hollow State Forest. She was picking beans in her garden when she was bitten. She died the next day. This is the last known fatality from a wild snake bite in the state of Ohio.[114]
Anna Kirk, 26, Female September 4, 1945 Unknown Anna Kirk, the husband of Rev. Harvey Kirk, died three days after she got bit in the wrist thrice on September 1, 1945, during a religious service in the Faith Holiness Church in Stone Creek, Virginia. She was going into labor just before dying without a physician present and her baby also died. Afterward, Rev. Kirk was arrested, convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and sentenced to three months in prison.[18]
Lewis Ford, 32, male September 1945 Rattlesnake Ford was bitten by a rattlesnake during a religious service at the Dolly Pond Church with Signs Following near Chattanooga, Tennessee.[115]
Harry Skelton, 18, male 1945 Unknown Skelton died from a snake bite during a religious service in Cleveland, Tennessee.[115]
Jerry Frier, 7, male June 22, 1943 Rattlesnake Frier died from rattlesnake bite in Lafayette County, Florida.[116]
Dorothy Louise Key, 8, female May 1, 1942 Rattlesnake Bitten while walking in woods near her home in Bradenton, Florida[117]
Mahel Coffey, 10, female July 21, 1941 Rattlesnake Bitten by a rattlesnake while picking berries near her home in Lenoir, North Carolina[118]
John Charles Goss, 2, male June 23, 1941 Rattlesnake Bitten beneath the right knee while at a picnic near the city reservoir alongside the Willow Creek Highway in Bradford, Pennsylvania[119]
Reba Ann Cooper, 2, female April 28, 1940 Rattlesnake The daughter of a rancher, Cooper was bitten by a rattlesnake on a ranch near Rocksprings, Texas.[120]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Paul D. Emerson, 50, male September 17, 1937 Rattle Snake Dr. Emerson, a nationally known soil expert, was found dead on a trail eight miles west of Rapid City, South Dakota. Bitten on the left leg by a snake, Dr. Emerson had applied a tourniquet below the knee and made an incision over the wound with razor blade before he died.[121]
Marshal Ray Weddle, 5, male July 24, 1937 Rattlesnake Bitten while playing near his home in Riggins, Idaho.[122]
B.T. Walley, 34, male July 21, 1937 Rattlesnake Bitten while walking near Laurel, Mississippi.[123]
Ace Hargrove, 64, male June 20, 1937 Rattlesnake, Eastern Copperhead or Cottonmouth The Columbia Record article states that Ace Hargrove, a farmer near Clio, South Carolina, was bitten by a rattlesnake while picking blackberries in a field near his home. The article, dated June 29, 1937, mentions that Hargrove initially thought he was stung by a wasp but then saw the snake as it slithered away. The certificate of death offers a slightly different account, stating that Hargrove was picking berries on the bank of a ditch near his home when he was bit on the right leg by a pilot snake. Both the Water Moccasin and the Eastern Copperhead have been referred to as pilot snakes historically, making a proper attribution difficult with current records.[124]
Katie Adelle Rhode, 25, Female August 13, 1936 Rattlesnake Rhode was bitten by a rattlesnake while walking down the steps of her home in St. George, South Carolina. She reportedly did not feel the strike initially, but after a family member noticed blood on her ankle, the rattlesnake was found coiled near the steps. She was taken to a hospital in Summerville, South Carolina, but died approximately 15 hours after sustaining the bite.[125]
Alfred Weaver, 35, male May 4, 1936 Rattlesnake Weaver, a 35-year-old itinerant was bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake during a "faith" demonstration at a revival service in Bartow, Florida, on May 3, 1936. He died the next day after refusing medical treatment.[126]
Jess Correll, 28, male July 24, 1931 Copperhead A farmer, Correll was bitten on the hand, while in the hay loft of his barn near Washington, Indiana.[127]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Wilmer Hassinger, 15, male June 15, 1929 Rattlesnake Bitten while fishing along Rattling Creek near Lykens, Pennsylvania.[128]
Maggie Collins, 33, female May 29, 1929 Rattlesnake Collins died from a rattlesnake bite while picking blackberries in Grady County, Georgia.
Rebecca Nimmons, 19, female July 1928 Rattlesnake Nimmons was killed by a rattlesnake in Pickens County, South Carolina.
Jane Lancaster, 66, female August 21, 1921 Probably a timber rattlesnake The bite occurred in Franklin Township at Snake Hollow, near the present-day Scioto Trails State Forest, southeast of Chillicothe, Ohio, in Ross County. An article in the Chillicothe Gazette explained that it could not be confirmed whether the bite Lancaster suffered was from a copperhead or rattlesnake. Given the severity of her wounds, it was likely a timber rattlesnake.[129]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Gustav A. Link, 51, male August 15, 1917 Timber rattlesnake Link was showing his pet timber rattlesnake to a group of University of Pittsburgh students in the taxidermy lab of Carnegie Museum. While putting the snake back into its cage, Link was bitten on his right index finger. Link was admitted to Mercy Hospital and treated. Herpetologist Raymond Ditmars sent antivenom from New York by train in the custody of a Pullman porter. Antivenom was administered 12 hours after the bite, but Link died 15 hours after the bite.[130][131]
Helen Moomey, 4, female September 23, 1915 Rattlesnake Moomey died from a rattlesnake bite she received while playing with friends near her house in Billings County, North Dakota.[132] The prairie rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in North Dakota.
Two Wilson children June 1913 Prairie rattlesnake The children were bitten and died while their family was sleeping on the North Dakota prairie.
Frank Stankiewicz, 57, male July 9, 1910 Rattlesnake Stankiewicz, a Lithuanian immigrant, trapped a rattlesnake while fishing near Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. When he attempted to pull off the rattles, the snake escaped and bit him twice.[133]


Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Mary Bull, 12, female July 9, 1907 Rattlesnake Bull died from a rattlesnake bite in Shenandoah County, Virginia. The timber rattlesnake is the only species of rattlesnake in this region.
Anonymous male May 1906 Unknown A young man became seriously ill and died as a result of a snake bite while handling a snake during one of George Went Hensley's religious services in Bartow, Florida. Shortly after, the town of Bartow passed a law that banned snake handling.[115]
Frank Benham, 2, male September 25, 1903 Prairie rattlesnake Benham died from a rattlesnake bite in Adams County, Colorado, 17 miles north of Deer Trail.
Edward Comstock, 39, male September 25, 1900 Rattlesnake Comstock died as result of a bite from a rattlesnake during a snake handling exhibition on Water Street in Chillicothe, Ohio. A newspaper article read: "Edward Comstock, manager of a snake show, was bitten by a rattlesnake at Chillicothe, O., last week and died, in terrible agony. His hand and arm swelled to an enormous size. Every known antidote was tried without avail. He was changing the snakes and put his hand into a box, when the rattler bit him. He had handled snakes for years."[134]

18th and 19th century[edit]

Name, age, gender Date Species Location, comments
Belinda Rourke, 6, female June 1891 Rattlesnake Rourke died from a bite while playing near a pile of rocks near the family's ranch in the Purgatory River Valley of southern Colorado. The child survived for a day after the bite.
Rebecca O. Andrews, approximately 28, female c. 1890 Rattlesnake Andrews died from a rattlesnake bite in Kansas.
James Ananias Brannon, 2, male July 1882 Rattlesnake Brannon died from a rattlesnake bite received while lying on a blanket in Texas.
George Sides, 6, male May 30, 1873 Rattlesnake Sides died in Texas of a rattlesnake bite.
Frederick Louis Niemann, male 1873 Rattlesnake Niemann died in Saline County, Kansas, from a rattlesnake bite.
William A. Perrin, male 1859 Timber rattlesnake Perrin was killed by a rattlesnake at Stribling Springs in Augusta County, Virginia.
Maggie Lee, female October 24, 1854 Rattlesnake She was the first child to die of a snakebite in Parker County, Texas.[135]
H. M. Pettigrew, 31, male August 15, 1841 Rattlesnake Pettigrew died from a rattlesnake bite while clearing land in Fannin County, Texas.[136]
Richardson, infant son of Wm. & Ella 1796 Likely Massasauga or Timber rattlesnake Richardson Cemetery (Town of Springport, NY) [137]
Unknown person 1791 Timber rattlesnake This was the last fatal snakebite in the state of Massachusetts.[138]
Child, 5 or 6 August 28, 1790 Timber rattlesnake A child was bitten by a rattlesnake, and died the next day, in Hardwick, Massachusetts.[139]

See also[edit]


Other animals:


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External links[edit]