A Daytona Beach, Florida man shoots at a snake but ends up shooting himself instead. Garrett Bauernschmidt shot his fingers while trying to kill a large water moccasin. When officers arrived on the scene, they found the 75-year-old suffering from gunshot wounds to two fingers on his left hand.
Daytona Beach investigators said Bauernschmidt’s caretaker told him about the snake. He then went to retrive his Derringer handgun loaded with birdshot. He then went outside to shoot the snake firing once and missing. When he prepared to fire a second shot, it accidentally discharged.
A Sheriff’s office report states the shot passed through the man’s left index finger. He was taken to Halifax Hospital and was expected to recover. The Sheriff’s office has ruled the shooting an accident and closed its investigation.
The snake was never found. Adult water moccasins are large and capable of delivering a painful and potentially fatal bite. When antagonized, they will stand their ground by coiling their bodies and displaying their fangs.
The snake is a strong swimmer and will even enter the sea, successfully colonizing islands off both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
The snake’s venom is more toxic than that of its cousin, the copperhead and is rich with tissue-destructive enzymes. The venom does not cause systemic reactions in victims and does not contain neurotoxic components that are present in numerous rattlesnake species.