NJ man hospitalized after being bitten by cobra

February 2, 2011 6:56:04 AM PST
A New Jersey man remained hospitalized Tuesday after he was bitten by his pet snake.

Fair Lawn police said 25-year-old Eric Bortz bought the albino Monocled Cobra, an eastern diamondback rattlesnake and a copperhead snake in Pennsylvania on Monday and thought their venom sacks had been removed.

Sgt. Rich Schultz said the cobra bit Bortz on Monday night after he reached into its container to feed it or otherwise handle it.

After Bortz began to experience severe respiratory problems, he was taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center in Paterson and then to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y., which has a snakebite treatment center.

Schultz said Bortz's wife told him Tuesday that her husband wasn't able to speak but that he was responding to her non-verbally.

An animal control officer removed the snakes from the home Tuesday and they were being examined by the state's Division of Fish and Wildlife.

According to Schultz, state and local authorities were looking into the purchase of the snakes and whether the seller violated any laws.

"The concern right now is removing the snakes and hoping this guy recovers," he said.

Schultz didn't identify the seller or where the snakes were purchased.