Mica Craig, 47, a married father of two, was shopping for mulch in the outdoor garden department of Wal-Mart for his marijuana plants, which he is licensed to grow for medical reasons. When he reached down to brush aside what he thought was a stick off the mulch, the stick stretched out and suddenly turned around and dug its fangs into his right hand and stayed latched on it, as he screamed with excruciating pain. This Clarkston resident says that he screamed and managed to shake loose the snake and stomped it to death.
Alarmed by his shrieking cries, Craig was rushed to the hospital by a bystander Maria Geffre, who told Reuters
, she saw him crumple to the ground after crying out that he had been bitten by a rattlesnake
"He had punctures on his hand and there was the dead rattler he'd stomped on," Geffre said, describing the snake as at least a foot long with four buttons, or rattles.
Last Friday, the encounter with a rattlesnake sent Craig to the hospital, where he said he remained in agonizing pain and may lose feeling in two fingers. The doctors initially thought it was a ‘dry bite’ and that the snake had not injected venom into Craig’s hand. But they were proved wrong when Craig’s hand swelled to the size of a melon moments later. Craig was immediately treated with six bags of anti-venom and was also told that his hand could be permanently disfigured.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
has apologized to Craig and said that the retailer was investigating into how the reptile found its way inside the store in Clarkston, in eastern Washington.
"At this point, it appears to be an isolated incident. We are working with a pest management team, which is conducting a sweep of the property to ensure there is no additional rattlesnake activity," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said, reported the Chicago Tribune
Travis Taggart, director of the Center for North American Herpetology, also mentioned that half of the recognized rattlesnake bites which are instigated usually as a defensive form of attack when directed at humans, are “dry” yet cause severe pain.