Upon removing what he initially believed to be a splinter from his finger, Collie Ennis, a snake expert, made a stunning discovery. Ennis discovered that the small snake’s tooth, which had been lodged in his finger for over a year, was the source of all of his infections and pain. “It started just before the [COVID-19] pandemic in Christmas of 2019,” Ennis explained to Newsweek. “I noticed a small lump and pain in my middle finger on my right hand. I assumed it was a splinter but couldn’t see it clearly so left it to hopefully work its way out. That, unfortunately, didn’t happen.”
Even doctors urged Ennis to simply let the wound work itself out. “I suffered months of regular swelling and pain in the finger followed by trips to the doctor,” Ennis said. “[The Doctor] assumed it was a splinter or similar that would eventually work its way out.”
Ennis waited months to get help for the severe pain in his finger. He finally found a clinic that could remove the foreign object but he had to wait even longer for an x-ray. However, the scan never happened. “While on the waiting list I got another nasty flare up and, one night, the pain was so bad I took a small scalpel blade to it myself and hit something hard with the blade as I cut in,” he explained. “I got tweezers and managed to grab the end of the hard object with it. I was amazed to see a snake’s fang in the tweezers when I pulled it out.”
Remembering the time I had an unmerciful pain in my finger with non stop, repeat infections and swelling.— Collie Ennis 🕷🐸 (@collieennis) December 5, 2022
I took a blade to it in frustration one day and discovered a snakes tooth that had been lodged in there for a YEAR unknowns to me! pic.twitter.com/1BzwSTIiqI
Though he gets friendly bites, Ennis never considered a fang staying behind
It never dawned on him that the source of the “splinter” would be so obvious. Ennis is a research associate in the Zoology department at Trinity College Dublin, as well as a science officer with the Herpetological Society of Ireland. He has also been a hobbyist reptile keeper for many years. All of these roles involve working closely with various types of snakes.
“Most of the snakes in my care are rescues or rehomes and some have had a rough life and aren’t overly fond of people, so the occasional nip on the finger from them is completely understandable,” Ennis explained. “I never considered one of these friendly bites would have left me with a semi-permanent lodger in my finger.”
Ennis noted that he wasn’t entirely sure which snake had bitten him, but he had a few ideas. “I’d guess it was a particularly nippy Mexican black king snake of mine called Memnoch.” In the wake of the incident, Ennis said that he now carefully inspects himself for any lingering fangs when he receives “friendly” bites from his reptile pals.