A Florida grandfather is being hailed as a hero after getting between a deadly rattlesnake and his three-year-old grandson. Thatcher Nightingale was hospitalized and faced life-threatening complications after being bitten while protecting the young boy.
The 43-year-old grandpa was picking berries with his grandson Shelton Dawkins on Father’s Day when the three-year-old spotted the snake.
“Poppa, snake. Poppa, snake,” Shelton said. Nightingale immediately recognized it as a pygmy rattlesnake, a species with venom so dangerous that it can be fatal. The grandpa believed the snake was about to attack. He couldn’t allow it to strike his small grandson so he stepped between the boy and the snake and took the bite himself.
Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake from the Florida panhandle. pic.twitter.com/YmB1g1075V
— Bryan D. Hughes (@rattlesnakeguy) November 30, 2017
The snake bit the grandpa on his finger. Quickly, the venom spread up his arm and began attacking his central nervous system, causing extreme chest pain. It’s hard to imagine a little boy dealing with those effects if he had been bitten instead.
“He said he couldn’t image Shelton going through that pain because, even for a grown man his size, it was still curling him up,” the three-year-old’s father Thatcher Dawkins said.
Right after Nightingale was bitten, Dawkins killed the snake. Its body was taken to the emergency room along with Nightingale so doctors knew exactly what they were dealing with and the appropriate course of treatment.
In addition to the intense pain, the pygmy rattlesnake’s venom can cause future blood clots in Nightingale’s arm. This can be fatal. Thankfully, this grandpa was alert the following day. It is hopeful that he makes a complete recovery.
Thatcher Nightingale is being hailed as a hero for protecting his young grandson. As severe as his reaction was to the venom, it would have absolutely been more extreme and life-threatening for the preschooler if he was bitten instead. This man is a Father’s Day hero!
An interview with the family can be seen in the video below.