Ouch! Teen survives moccasin’s bite

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 2010

An Andalusia teen is recovering from being bitten by a cottonmouth moccasin.

Colter Herrington, the 17-year-old son of Amy Herrington and Joe and Joyl Herrington, is a senior at Straughn High School. Most days, he passes the time at home after school is over each day.

Colter  Herrington was bitten by a snake in his family’s pool. The fang marks might be gone, but the memory of the experience isn’t, he said.

Last Tuesday, he said he got bored and decided to head outside to “goof off.”

“You’ll laugh, but I was outside playing with a frog,” he said. “It jumped into the pool, so I reached in to get the skimmer net out so I could get the frog.

“All I remember is seeing a head and fangs,” he said. “Right when I grabbed the basket, I saw its head and it got me right on the back of the thumb, where the thumb meets the palm.”

Herrington said the snake was near the drain of the in-ground pool, sitting between the net and side of the pool when it struck.

“Believe it or not, it didn’t hurt,” he said of the bite. “The venom, though, that was very painful.”

Herrington was home alone when the incident occurred. As soon as he made it inside the house, he called his mother, who incidentally is a nurse and emergency room manager at Andalusia Regional Hospital.

“My mom stayed on the phone with me the whole time,” he said. “She even beat the ambulance there. The only questions I asked was if I was going to lose my thumb and was I going to get to stay out of school for the rest of the week.”

Well, Herrington was one for two on the reply.

He didn’t lose his thumb; however, family and emergency room personnel watched as the venom caused swelling throughout the entire left side of his body. His hand swelled to approximately 30 centimeters, he said.

He did get to stay out of school until Monday. His recovery required a heavy dose of anti-venom, antihistamines, pain medicine and a two-day hospital stay.

As for the snake, it’s dead.

“My stepdad got to the house and wrapped a belt around my arm until the ambulance got there,” he said. “He walked back outside and saw the snake in the drain. I guess after it bit me, it crawled back down into the basket. He scooped it up and shot it. We took it to the hospital with us.”

Already friends are ribbing Herrington about his brush with danger.

Herrington's hand swelled to more than twice the size of his mom's.

“They’re calling me snake charmer and snake whisperer,” he said. “Although, I don’t think I did much charming. It seems like an awful lot of work to get 15 minutes of fame.”