This Man Beheaded a Snake—And It Still Bit Him


Before the incident—before his body became a battleground for competing poisons and his story the subject of zoological curiosity—Jeremy Sutcliffe had actually liked snakes. He’d found them beautiful, even.

Besides, the tattooed 40-year-old wasn’t someone who shied away from wild creatures. He was an avid outdoorsman who took every chance he could to camp and fish. That love of nature had been part of the reason Jeremy and his wife Jennifer, 43, had recently moved to South Texas from Kansas. The place they’d bought on Lake Corpus Christi, a short drive from the Gulf of Mexico, was their dream home. Or that’s what it was going to be. At the moment, they were living in a trailer on their one-acre lot, and the house was still a fixer-upper. A “total gut job,” Jeremy called it, with the pride of someone who plans on doing the gutting himself.

On a steamy Sunday morning in May 2018, the couple was tidying their yard in preparation for an evening cookout with their daughter and her two young children. At around 10:30 a.m., Jeremy began mowing the lawn while Jennifer worked on the garden. She had just reached down to grab a weed when she saw it: a western diamondback rattlesnake, right next to her hand.

Jennifer leaped up as the snake, a meter long, rose into a striking position, with its dusty triangular head tensed and its tail rattling. “Snake!” yelled Jennifer as she backed away. “Snake!”

When he heard his wife’s cry, Jeremy figured she’d run into one of the harmless rat snakes that often showed up on the property. He grabbed a shovel to shoo the creature away and jogged around the house to the garden. That’s when he heard the rattling. His wife was cornered between some shrubbery and the wall of the house, the snake directly in her path.

He first tried to scoop up the rattler using the shovel, without success. Then he did what was necessary: He raised the garden tool and brought the edge down hard through the snake’s body just below the head, decapitating it.


Most Dangerous Animal Bites You Can Get

search close