TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A.J. Pillich never heard the rattlesnake coming; he was wearing headphones on his way to work.
He didn't see it either, but he certainly felt it.
"It just felt like a big stinging pain in my leg," Pillich said.
A pain so sharp it brought him to his knees and face to face with the striker.
"It just kind of glared at me and gave me a dirty look -- a look saying get out of here, so I left."
He called for help and Northwest Fire Department took him to the hospital. Northwest Fire and Augie Herbst, who specializes in venemous reptiles, break down exactly what to do if a rattler bites.
1. Stay calm
2. Slowly back away
3. Call for help
4. Keep the bite below your heart
"Don't get hysterical; don't start running," Herbst said. "That'll increase the flow of venom: It'll make it go faster through your body."
If you get bit, you need to go to the hospital. Home remedies will not work.
And it's important to keep the bite below the heart to slow the venom from reaching your core.
The snake that got Pillich is four feet long. His neighbor later killed it: The same neighbor who was instrumental in keeping Pillich calm until medics arrived.
But Herbst warns that a dead snake is not a safe snake.
"A dead snake -- for up to an hour -- can still kill you," Herbst said.
He said the nerves are still active and they'll still bite. The venom in the fangs lasts even longer.
He says the best bet is to let the pros catch and relocate.
If you need help with a venemous reptile, Herbst has a non-proft reptile removal and relocation business: Sonoran Desert Reptiles.