Decapitated Rattlesnake Still Manages to Bite and Nearly Kill Victim

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While it always pays to be very cautious around rattlesnakes and other venomous creatures, one man in Corpus Christi, Texas is helping to drive home the point that you should keep your distance from their severed heads, too.

Local news affiliate KIII-TV recently reported that homeowner Jeremy Sutcliffe was doing yard work on Memorial Day weekend when he encountered one of the potentially deadly rattlers, a 4-foot-long Western diamondback. He severed its head with a shovel. When he went to dispose of the carcass, the reptile managed one last act of defiance and bit his hand. Immediately experiencing the effects of the snake’s venom, including seizures and vision loss, the man was airlifted to a hospital. Physicians administered 26 vials of antivenom. His physician, Michael Halpert, told media that Sutcliffe is currently in stable condition and is expected to recover.

In a chat with Gizmodo, antivenom expert Leslie Boyer explained that the severed head of a snake can continue to function and possibly kill “for a long time afterward.” A headless body can also rattle because being cold-blooded means their organs do not stop operating as quickly as a warm-blooded animal's would.

If you encounter a rattlesnake, avoid it by slowly backing away from its immediate area and call an animal control facility to help you. Venomous snakes will not let a minor injury like decapitation stop them from sinking their fangs into the nearest lump of flesh they can find.

[h/t Gizmodo]

The Time German and Russian WWI Soldiers Banded Together to Fight Wolves

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iStock.com/567185

During the winter of 1917, Russian and German soldiers fighting in the dreary trenches of the Great War’s Eastern Front had a lot to fear: enemy bullets, trench foot, frostbite, countless diseases, shrapnel, bayonets, tanks, sniper fire. Oh, and wolves.

In February of that year, a dispatch from Berlin noted that large packs of wolves were creeping from the forests of Lithuania and Volhynia into the interior of the German Empire, not far from the front lines. Like so many living creatures, the animals had been driven from their homes by the war and were now simply looking for something to eat. “As the beasts are very hungry, they penetrate into the villages and kill calves, sheep, goats, and other livestock,” the report, which appeared in the El Paso Herald, says. “In two cases children have been attacked by them.”

According to another dispatch out of St. Petersburg, the wolves were such a nuisance on the battlefield that they were one of the few things that could bring soldiers from both sides together. “Parties of Russian and German scouts met recently and were hotly engaged in a skirmish when a large pack of wolves dashed on the scene and attacked the wounded,” the report says, according to the Oklahoma City Times. “Hostilities were at once suspended and Germans and Russians instinctively attacked the pack, killing about 50 wolves.” It was an unspoken agreement among snipers that, if the Russians and Germans decided to engage in a collective wolf-hunt, all firing would cease.

Take this July 1917 New York Times report describing how soldiers in the Kovno-Wilna Minsk district (near modern Vilnius, Lithuania) decided to cease hostilities to fight this furry common enemy:

"Poison, rifle fire, hand grenades, and even machine guns were successively tried in attempts to eradicate the nuisance. But all to no avail. The wolves—nowhere to be found quite so large and powerful as in Russia—were desperate in their hunger and regardless of danger. Fresh packs would appear in place of those that were killed by the Russian and German troops.

"As a last resort, the two adversaries, with the consent of their commanders, entered into negotiations for an armistice and joined forces to overcome the wolf plague. For a short time there was peace. And in no haphazard fashion was the task of vanquishing the mutual foe undertaken. The wolves were gradually rounded up, and eventually several hundred of them were killed. The others fled in all directions, making their escape from carnage the like of which they had never encountered."

Afterward, the soldiers presumably returned to their posts and resumed pointing their rifles at a more violent and dangerous enemy—each other.

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