A Father’s Day celebration turned to a nightmare when a grandfather was rushed to hospital after heroically throwing himself between a venomous snake and his grandson.
According to News 4 Jax, Thatcher Nightingale, from Florida, was picking berries with three-year-old Shelton Dawkins when the young boy spotted the pygmy rattlesnake.
The boy started yelling “Poppa snake. Poppa, snake”.
“He interfered with it and took the bite instead of my son,” the boy’s father Thatcher Dawkins told News 4 Jax.
Mr Nightingale, 43, sustained a bite to his finger and venom travelled up his arm to his nervous system.
He reportedly suffered severe pain in his chest.
“He said he couldn’t imagine Shelton going through that pain because, even for a grown man his size, it was still curling him up,” Mr Dawkins told News 4 Jax.
Mr Nightingale remains in intensive care.
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According to the University of Florida, pygmy rattlesnakes have a thick, greyish body with patches of dark grey and black on the side.
They are usually about 30 centimetres in length.
The university said they are found throughout Florida and is the most common venomous snake to be found in urbanised areas, often in gardens or brush piles.