GRAPHIC: Tennessee man nearly loses finger from rattlesnake bite

Franklin, Tenn. (WZTV/CNN) - A man in Tennessee says when he was bitten by a rattlesnake, he thought it wasn’t a big deal, but the bite almost caused him to lose his finger.

Austin McGee and his friend, Noah Hammer, were doing some work out in the woods by McGee’s Franklin, Tenn., home, when they heard a noise.

After he was bitten by a rattlesnake, Austin McGee thought he was going to lose his finger, but thankfully, doctors now believe he will make a full recovery.
After he was bitten by a rattlesnake, Austin McGee thought he was going to lose his finger, but thankfully, doctors now believe he will make a full recovery. (Source: WZTV/Dalton Dorris/Austin McGee/CNN)

"I heard something that sounded like just a faint, little rattle,” Hammer said. “Must be a bug or something 'cause it wasn’t really that loud.”

But when McGee reached down to pick up some metal, a rattlesnake bit him.

"Didn’t hurt real bad, just like getting stung,” McGee said. “I honestly thought a rattlesnake bite wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Still, McGee sought medical attention. Over the next several days, the wound on his finger got worse.

"It progressively kept getting worse, and then they popped it and it went back down. Then, the skin around it started coming off,” McGee said.

McGee says he thought he was going to lose the finger.

"It's like a throbbing. It was beating with my heart every time,” he said.

Doctors believe McGee was bitten by a baby timber rattlesnake. Baby rattlesnakes' venom is more potent than that of adults, wildlife experts say.
Doctors believe McGee was bitten by a baby timber rattlesnake. Baby rattlesnakes' venom is more potent than that of adults, wildlife experts say. (Source: WZTV/Dalton Dorris/Austin McGee/CNN)

Three weeks later, he can hardly bend his finger, but doctors believe he will make a full recovery.

McGee and his friends are now going to take the threat of snakes more seriously.

"Just watch out. Watch your step, and don’t pick stuff up unless you kick around it and look around it,” Hammer said.

Doctors believe McGee was bitten by a baby timber rattlesnake. According to wildlife experts, the venom in baby rattlesnakes is more potent than that of adults and can be deadly.

McGee says he had never seen a rattlesnake by his home prior to the incident.

Copyright 2019 WZTV, Dalton Dorris, Austin McGee via CNN. All rights reserved.