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PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. -- A Putnam County man is lucky to be alive after a close encounter with a deadly rattlesnake landed him in the hospital.

It took nearly two weeks in the hospital and more than 50 vials of antivenin to save the life of 50-year-old Clay Petruski, who was bitten by an eastern Diamondback rattlesnake on May 16.

Petruski wasn't released until Tuesday. That's according to a report from our news partners with the Florida Times-Union.

He was making a trip to the store to fetch some cleaning supplies and gasoline when he spotted the rattler lying along a dirt road about a half mile from his home in unincorporated Putnam County, Petruski said.

Knowing his neighbors wouldn't pass up the chance to try and run the snake over, Petruski said he stopped to scare the snake into the woods nearby. Petruski said he was prodding the snake with a stick when it struck, biting him on the hand.

As the snake's venom coursed through his veins, Petruski reportedly said a metallic taste invaded his mouth. He made it back to his house in Florahome, where he collapsed on the couch.

Petruski was near death when he got to the hospital at UF Health Gainesville, his physician told the Times-Union. His throat was swollen to the point that he couldn't breathe and doctors had to cut into his neck to connect him to a ventilator.

The eastern diamondback is deemed the state's largest and most dangerous snake and one of the most aggressive breeds, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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