Snakes are beautiful creatures. But they’re also terrifying — and potentially deadly.
Here at LittleThings, we’ve written about plenty of unexpected snake encounters. In certain areas of the world, snakes have a tendency to pop up where you least expect them to be — like one unsuspecting man who was called upon to help his elderly neighbor yank a six-foot snake out of a toilet bowl.
Plenty of people have a fear of snakes, and for good reason. While many of the thousands of snake species in the world are completely harmless, plenty of varieties are poisonous or easily able to kill a person by crushing them.
When photographer Mark Laita set out to photograph hundreds of snakes for a book project, he didn’t have a particular fear of snakes. But that changed after he experienced one near-deadly bite.
Scroll through to learn more about this terrifying close call!
Thumbnail Photo: Instagram / Mark Laita
[H/T: Bored Panda]
Mark Laita is a photographer based in Los Angeles.
He has had his work exhibited both domestically and in Europe.
He has photographed all types of subjects, form sea creatures to flowers.
However, much of his work focuses on wildlife.
Over the course of his career, he has photographed a fascinating array of wild animals. Here, he captured the mysterious beauty of a giant octopus.
In 2012, Mark was working on a book project capturing gorgeous images of snakes.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, Mark visited zoos, breeders, private collections, and even antivenin labs in the United States and Central America to stage shoots of specimens he found “visually compelling.”
“It is not a snake book,” Mark told Smithsonian back in 2013, after Serpentine was released.
He had no scientific criteria when picking snakes — it was all about the visuals for him.
“Really, it is more about color, form and texture. For me, a snake does that beautifully,” he said.
“I would go to a place looking for this species and that species. And once I got there, they had 15 or 20 others that were great, too.”
For each snake portrait, Mark would lay a black velvet backdrop on the floor. Handlers would guide the snake, keeping it on the backdrop, while Mark would shoot.
He would largely allow the snakes to do their own thing — curling into gorgeous figures on the floor, with their vibrant colors bright against the plain, black background.
Mark photographed a mix of harmless and venomous snakes. But one encounter was a bit too close for comfort.
In one specific instance, a black mamba bit him on the leg — and Mark managed to capture that exact moment on film.
According to Mark’s interview with Strange Behaviors, the incident happened while he was photographing snakes at the home of a collector.
The collector was handling the black mamba easily. “He was a really calm, cool snake. An old snake, not a young, excitable one,” Mark recalled.
Unfortunately, the handler’s hook bumped a red photographic cable that was hanging and startled the snake, which struck.
Mark chose not to go tot he hospital for antivenin, which was an extremely risky move. Luckily for Mark, the snake either gave a “dry bite,” which doesn’t inject venom into the victim’s flesh, or his bleeding from the bite wound pushed the venom out of his wound immediately.
In any case, Mark survived his close call with the deadly black mamba — and captured a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime photo in the process.
Isn’t Mark’s story incredible?
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