"Using cooking utensils when dealing with dangerous reptiles" is a bad idea, Riverside County Animal Services said in a Facebook post after a southern California man was bitten by a rattlesnake he had tried to pick up with barbecue tongs. County officials say the man, who was bitten on his left hand, was hospitalized and animal control officer Mike McGee captured the snake with a bucket and a 5-foot pair of tongs, CBS 2 reports. McGee says rattlesnakes are usually released within a mile of where they were captured, but this one was euthanized because it "was highly likely this snake might end up in one of the adjacent homes again."
"A coiled rattlesnake can strike the length of its body and the bites are painful and, in some rare cases, fatal," warns Animal Services Commander Chris Mayer. The bitten man, a Corona-area resident who asked to be identified only as Steve, says he was worried about children encountering the snake after he spotted it near his home Saturday evening, but he soon realized that trying to pick it up with 14-inch tongs was a big mistake, NBC Los Angeles reports. Steve says he was part of a team that cleared rattlesnakes in the military and he thought he would be able to safely "assess the situation." He says antivenom prevented him from becoming seriously ill, but the bite was "extremely painful." (Read more rattlesnake stories.)