A man who spent his life researching snakes died earlier this month after being bitten by a rattlesnake.
“Marty” Martin died after being bitten by a snake he had on his property in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, his wife, Renee, told The Associated Press.
Martin was known for his research on the reptiles and would still take mountain hikes to remote areas to document and count snakes, despite being 80 years old.
“He was in his 80s, and he was hard to keep up with,” said Joe Villari, who manages the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve in northern Virginia.
Villari would join Martin on his semiannual treks to remote mountain dens where the snakes lived, he told the AP.
While rattlesnakes are venomous, deaths from snakebites are extremely rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates they account for about five fatalities annually in the U.S., the AP reported.
According to the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida, the chances of dying from a venomous snakebite in the United States are extremely low: “Fewer than one in 37,500 people (about 7,000-8,000 people) are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S. each year, and only one in 50 million people will die from snakebite.”