September 12, 2014 / 7:49 PM / 4 years ago

Snakes alive! Arizona man, 91, doing fine after rattler bite

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A 91-year-old man shopping for milk and other groceries in western Arizona was rushed to hospital after he was bitten by a rattlesnake as he entered a store.

Frank Anner, a resident of the small town of Quartzsite, said on Friday he is doing fine now, but that he did not know what hit him.

“As soon as the door shut behind me there was this whack,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview as he was about to check out of a Phoenix hospital.

“I said, ‘Hey, I just got bitten by a snake.’”

The culprit in Wednesday’s attack left a painful gash in Anner’s left ankle and was determined to be an adult western diamondback, a venomous common desert dweller.

“I never saw it when it hit me, he left pretty fast,” he said. “They’re educated around here you know, these snakes.”

And this one had a buddy: Anner said another rattler was found outside the store among some boxes. Both were killed.

The nonagenarian was taken to a local hospital with an injury that “stung a little and started to get numb,” then flown to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Dr. Steven Curry, a medical toxicologist there, said the hospital deals with about 70 snakes bites a year, and a dose of anti-venom is commonly used in the treatment of poisonous ones.

Anner said this was his first snakebite, and that he tells people now to keep their eyes on the ground and stay alert.

“Those snakes are very quiet and they hit and run,” he said.

Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler

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