LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA.com) — A Lake Elsinore man was bitten by a rattlesnake Monday as he picked it up and attempted to take a selfie.
Alex Gomez, 36, spotted the four-foot rattler in a field by his family’s ranch on Cielito Drive, shortly before he made the potentially deadly mistake.
“I’m shocked that he would have that things around his neck,” Alex’s mother Deborah said. “It could’ve bit his neck, and that would have been it. That’s just being a fool.”
Alex’s nephew, Ronnie, was with him when the snake was discovered, and says the reptile gave plenty of warning.
“It was really think and had ten rattles on it, it was rattling,” Ronnie said. “It was pretty mad.”
Upon being bitten, Gomez, who is a father a three, was experiencing excruciating pain as he was taken to a local hospital. His hand swelled up and his body started to tingle. His neighbor, Byron Bonilla, called 9-1-1 immediately.
While Gomez is being treated with anti-venom, his mother says he may lose his hand.
“His skin is already rotting away,” Deborah described.
While Gomez’ family says the mistake was his decision to go near the snake, the issue of rattlesnakes has been immense in 2015, due to the drought and the heat.
California Poison Control reports handling 800 rattlesnake bites per year, and one-to-two end up being fatal. Alex was bitten during peak rattlesnake bite season, which runs from April to October.
Gomez’ mother, meanwhile, says sharing his “embarrassing” story is the best way to teach her son a lesson she thought he already knew.
“I told him the news people had been calling, and he said ‘Mom, you better not’, and I said ‘I’m going to’. I’m going to teach him a real good lesson when he gets home. No mercy for him.”