Snake handler suffers minor bite at Texas Capitol

By Eva Ruth Moravec
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A rattlesnake has bitten a handler - but didn't inject any venom - during a promotion for the 57th annual Rattlesnake Roundup at the Texas Capitol.

Volunteers stood watch for hours over a dozen snakes Monday, as they slithered around the outdoor rotunda. Carefully, they held the venomous snakes' heads and tails for pictures.

But by midafternoon, handler Blake Stephens picked up a serpent whose fang penetrated his thumb, drawing blood and causing him to drop the snake.

The 38-year-old said, "It fazed me but I did my best not to let it show."

An ambulance was summoned and medical personnel cleared Stephens to return to the makeshift snake pit.

At the roundup, snakes are smoked into the open surrounding Sweetwater, 200 miles west of Fort Worth, and then killed.

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