JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida man was in critical condition after he tried to kiss a rattlesnake but was bitten instead, authorities say.

Putnam County Fire Rescue responded to a call in the Bostwick area about the snakebite around 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, officials said.

The unidentified man was conscious but had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

A friend of the victim said that he had been drinking while handling the seemingly calm snake. But when he moved toward the reptile as if to kiss it, the snake bit him.

Authorities believe the snake is an eastern diamondback rattlesnake. It wasn’t immediately clear where the snake came from. It’s illegal to keep a rattlesnake in Florida without a license.