Anyone who grew up in a rural area will be familiar with sharing their backyard with wildlife. However, some people have to deal with visitors that are much more vicious than others. One Texas family found a venomous snake lurking around the premises of their home and quickly realized that killing it wouldn’t be so easy.
Jill-Scott Mollett posted a grisly video to Facebook showing a cottonmouth water moccasin that invaded her Sunnyvale, Texas home and refused to die. Cottonmouth water moccasins have an aggressive reputation and can deliver a painful and potentially fatal bite, which is why when Mollett’s daughters stumbled upon one, they decided to take action.
“So the girls found a cottonmouth water moccasin today, in our flower bed of all places,” Mollett wrote alongside her Facebook video. “We didn’t have a knife close to us, so Avery chopped it’s head off with some tree loppers. The girls’ favorite part was when the head kept trying to bite stuff for a few minutes after it was chopped off its body.”
The video shows the decapitated snake’s head still writhing on the ground and displaying its fangs for almost a minute after being severed. As disturbing as the sight is, it’s not uncommon. A wide range of predatory snakes are known to lash out and bite up to an hour after being beheaded.
Clifford Warwick discussed the disturbing aftermath of snake decapitation in his book, Reptiles: Misunderstood, Mistreated, and Mass-Marketed, writing, “A problem associated with the reptilian metabolism’s ability to operate at relatively low oxygen and low blood pressure levels is that nerve tissue is, to put it simply, very tough. Therefore, the nervous system, which of course includes the brain, can function away from the rest of the body for some time.”
Jill-Scott Mollett’s video has managed to viral ever since she posted it to her Facebook page. In just a couple of weeks, the post accumulated over 4.5 million views and 910 shares. However, in the thousands of comments, the video has prompted, some people have expressed complete outrage on killing an innocent creature.
Death from a cottonmouth water moccasin bite is rare but they can still cause intense pain, permanent tissue and muscle damage, loss of an extremity, and internal bleeding, which makes it no surprise the Mollets wanted to rid themselves of the risk. Others have been arguing that killing a snake this way leaves them in an extended agony and that it wouldn’t have attacked unless threatened.