A Wimauma teenager is in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital after being bitten in the face by a snake.
Austin Hatfield, 18, told authorities he was trying to kiss the snake. Family members killed it and brought it to a hospital.
Hatfield, who lives off Seminole Trail in Wimauma, took a liking to the cottonmouth last week, also known as a water moccasin. He kept it as a pet.
“He kisses it right on the head. Right on the mouth. He’s not afraid of death,” said Hatfield’s best friend, Jason Belcher.
Known to be quite a daredevil, Hatfield even kept count of how many times he was able to smooch the snake.
“Alright he’s kissed it 12 times. The 13 wasn’t a lucky one,” Belcher said. “We was sitting in the kitchen and he ran out of the room saying hospital, hospital. Now, now.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife is now investigating because Hatfield didn’t have a permit to have the snake.
“Just like any animal in Florida- if they pose a danger to people, we recommend you stay a safe distance,” said Baryl Martin, Florida Fish and Wildlife.