Skip to comments.Fearless dog saves woman from deadly cottonmouth snake – and almost dies from venomous bites
Posted on 12/01/2012 5:28:22 PM PST by EinNYC
Man's best friend doubles as a doggone good bodyguard. Gudrun Mastriano of Kissimmee, Fla., was walking her daughters black lab Dante home when a venomous cottonmouth snake, mere inches away, attacked her.
The protective canine lunged in front of Mastriano, captured the serpent in his mouth and dragged it away. But during the fight, the snakes fangs sunk into Dantes snout and legs.
"It could have been me," said Mastriano. "I would have died."
Dantes snout swelled up to about 17 inches as the deadly venom settled in his body, according to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"I thought he looked like a little baby hippopotamus," said Mastriano.
Mastriano immediately brought the lethargic and injured dog to an emergency animal clinic, where he was stabilized and treated with antivenin before being transferred to another medical center for rehabilitation.
For the past two months, Dante has received oxygen therapy. Veterinarians delivered concentrated oxygen to Dantes damaged cells seven times to reduce swelling and speed healing, reported the Orlando Sentinel.
Dante, rejuvenated, was ready to be reunited with his owner, Mastrianos daughter Charlotte Eierle.
Eierle moved to Madrid, where her husband is stationed with the Navy, in September. Eierle only planned to leave Dante behind for a few weeks while she and her husband got situated, but the snake attack delayed his trip abroad.
"We're just happy to see him healthy and going home for the holidays," said one of the veterinarians who bid Dante farewell at the airport.
For his flight to Spain, Dante was placed in a pet carrier that bore a notification for careful handling, along with a fitting description: Traveling Hero.
Aw, man? How can I sleep tonight with so many tears in my eyes?
black labs by breed are awesome looking out for owners, little kids, etc.
Good dog! Hate snakes. Never go walking without carrying a spade, gun, machete, and now...a good dog!
My great-granddad died from a cotton-mouth bite. He was in his early thirties in rural Arkansas. Nearest doctor was over thirty miles away. He lived for 3 days. Left behind five little girls, including my grandmother.
Ol’ Mel went for two guys that walked up behind me once when I was panning for gold up a canyon. Up until that moment, I didn’t know she could make those sounds or look that mean. 40 pounds of unsuspected unadulterated absolute killer guardian wolf in Springer Spaniel clothing. Damn that was an eye opener. She got between me and them and I have no doubt she would have made the swap, her life for mine to the last breath in her body. Those guys just about soiled themselves running backwards up the creek bank.... After I called her off and got her calmed down, we helped out the two guys. They needed a jack. Mel never took her eyes off them, and they knew it. Damn dog. She’s been gone ten years now. Damn dog. sniff..Damn dog. There’s a pile of stones just outside the window here, a 4X4 with a sun bleached tennis ball on top, Damn dog......Give that Lab a chewy and a belly rub for me. Damn dog......
Good girl, Georgia!
/sry remembering my favorite dog/companion
Good boy, Dante!!!
Free toy, all natural ingredients, made in the USA.
He was an interesting dog.
A dog will typically lunge in, grab the snake in the middle and immediately shake the snake to pieces. I have seen them do it many times.
Old Smokey was different. He would lunge and jump back until he finally got in and would grab the snake right behind the head. He would clamp down sort of like a bulldog until the snake was dead. Then he would prance around with the snake in his mouth like he was proud of himself.
Dogs are such loyal creatures. Hope this pooch has a long and happy life ahead of him.
BTW, I hadn’t realized that cottonmouths were that dangerous. I knew they were venomous, but I had always thought it wasn’t particularly potent (by poisonous snake standards). I was definitely wrong on that one!
Their bites aren’t usually fatal but the are serious. They can be extremely agressive to the point where they will follow you down a trail to bite you.
They’ll also drop into your boat out of trees.
Damn dog..... Don’t get me wrong, My wife loves me, but not like that dog did. I wish I was 10% the man that she thought I was.
For those that don’t live in snake country:
dog gets bit in the snoot or leg - probably survives.
dog gets bit in the body - you’re likely gonna lose him unless you are in the parking lot of a vet.
Luckily, most dogs go straight at the snake and get bit on the snout (or as a friend of mine always says, “proves dogs are probably Marines, because the know the best way to attack an enemy is head on!”)
I think cottonmouts have pretty strong venom for their size. The vast number of people who get bitten do survive.
The copperhead is less potent and nearly everyone survives their venom. The Florida subspecies of the Eastern Diamondback is the largest snake in the country and they are very dangerous because of the amount of venom they can inject.
Hardly anyone gets bitten by a coral snake as they chew to get their venom in. If they do get it in you are probably in for a bad time. They have be far the most potent venom but do not have as much of it.
This WAS a 5'6" long Florida Diamondback.
Very cool. If he was a liberal dog he would have waited around wondering when another animal would help him.
My cat may have swatted at it. (On a good day)
They’re very aggressive snakes.
I’ve seen them stand up 2’ or more above the ground to look at you. When a snake has about a third of its body standing straight up and staring at you it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. It feels very personal.
They also like to hang in low branches near water. When I’m in cottonmouth territory I look like a bobble head.
Thanks for the info, FRiends!
My high school track coach was bitten by a cottonmouth which dropped into his boat while he was fishing. The bite was not fatal but I heard later that he had to be circumcised because of it.
I really don’t know why as he was bitten on the thigh or at least that is what the rumor was.
Another friend of mine was fishing and bitten on the leg by a cottonmouth. The strange thing is he was carried out to the highway almost a mile by his cousin. The guy who got bitten was tackle on our football team and weighed 290. His cousin walked all the way with that guy on his back.
Me, too. Cottonmouths pick fights with anything. Thank God he gave them that putrid smell that alerts...
Our granddaughter was bit by a copperhead on Mother’s Day 2010, right out in our backyard in the mid-afternoon. It was lying in a large patch of english ivy; she came walking down through the ivy from a swing up on a landing; stepped right on the snake. It struck her three times in the left foot. She was four at the time. Rushed her to the hospital, ten minutes away. She was treated and transferred to our county’s main hospital where she stayed for four days. She came through fine, thank God; but we’ll never forget it, although she seemed to have put it behind her within a couple weeks. My husband found and killed the snake, which was about 18 inches.
You said they can raise up 2 inches? I'll bet they can raise up higher than that. Did you know that a smaller sized rattlesnake can stand up and dance on it's tail? I know that sounds preposterous but it is true. There is an old western painting (either Russel or Remington) that depicts Indians in some kind of ceremony with snakes dancing in “S” shapes on their tails.
I was in south Texas deer hunting and decided to walk back to the camp because nothing was moving. I heard a buzzing sound (I had never heard a rattlesnake's rattle). About 12 feet in front of me was a rattle snake up on his tail just like the western painting I had seen.
Yes I was armed and I killed it, it took a couple of shots because it was moving. I thought I was going to have a heart attack, I was so stunned.
I’m so afraid for my 2 Jack Russels. I know if they see a snake they will go for it. They kill anything they can get their teeth on. I’ve seen big rattler’s in the neighborhood, I just hope they don’t run into one when they are in the yard. (or an alligator)
The back of my property is bordered by a narrow cove. Very good fishing...but very snakey.
One of my dogs fell in during cottonmouth mating season a few years back. Bye-bye puppy. She did make it to the bank before collapsing.
Freeeedoom..I hear ya about looking like a bobblehead. When I go down to mow the bank and surrounding area my head looks like it is on some kind of crazy swivel. Plus, it has to be “push mowed” there so I am really “pickin’ ‘em up and puttin’ ‘em down”, lol. Neighbors come from miles around to watch me. For some reason if I’m just fishing from the bank..I’m not really intimidated. Go figure.
Hey, it’s fun and educational. I just adore cute lil’ lizards. Snakes, not so much!
I agree....that’s some dog! :)
Everybody down here that has spent any time in the country has a Water Moccasin story. They are aggressive, nasty, bastards. And they have a poison that is much worse than a rattler. Friend of mine got bit in the arm by one. They pretty much cut open every vein in his arm and mopped out the poison. They said he would likely suffer some permanent reduction in function of his arm if they didn't get it out.
The only good thing I can say is that several dozen have departed this earth through my ‘encouragement.’ A good old 12 gage makes a very nice encourager.
I used to have run reconnaissance in the backyard at night so they didn't snuff all my harmless colubrids who were out hunting.
Well, hi neighbor!
I, too, am in rural Texas. If a moccasin opens his mouth at you (not a good situation) you can see it is “cotton mouthed”. But I’m sure you have seen that if you have dealt with them.
I’m in east Texas and about the only poisonous snake I don’t have to deal with is a rattler. I have family in west Texas where the rattlers are king. The only kind thing I can say about them is they give warning. I would no more let one live than I would a cottonmouth. I guess all things serve a purpose on this earth. But if there is a chance that they could hurt me or my dogs...too bad for them.
A rat snake..a whip or most any other snake...they have a purpose. A rattler, cottonmouth or copperhead...not so much.
But if you want to let a rattler live, to each his own. Just step carefully and listen.
Sorry Sal, certain creatures of the poisonous nature don’t need to cohabitate. Please don’t hate me!!
Ive heard them buzz and ive heard them rattle. First time I heard the buzz, i knew right away it was a rattler even though I did not see it.
I heard the Hopi Indians have a rattlesnake dance but thats all i know.
I don’t put up with vipers in my yard, either.
I got the dogs to consider.
Up on the ridge, fine...but not here.
My corns, ring necks, milks, rats, garters, racers, water and green snakes are welcome but no hots allowed.
Very smart snake-killer!
No offense intended.
I was just worried that you might take offense at any repitilian demise.
Slithering away now. :D
Sad to think, if that was my dog, he would have to been put down due to the cost of treatment. It’s not mentioned in the story , but that had to be at huge cost
She was lucky, the antivenin can cause as much problem as the venom in many people
I have Mickey, a field-bred Springer, liver and white, who’s nickname is killer. She is very loyal and always wants to be with me. What a wonderful dog. I just love spaniels.
I know how you feel. Mel was a great dog and friend.
My dogs have been snake trained plus get the snake vaccine. Too many rattlers in West TX.
No offense taken.
I’m not a complete lunatic, ya know.
[I just play one here on FR]
I live in southwest Washington State - never see or hear rattle snakes here. Bears and mountain lions are what we have to look out for in the field.
I don't know where my buddy was from but he certainly had never encountered a snake before as evidenced by the way he tried to pick it up. It of course bit him and I laughed my butt off because he thought he was going to die.........I had to reassure him that it was harmless