CLOVIS, N.M., April 16 (UPI) -- A New Mexico zoo keeper said he is ready to go back to working with reptiles after being hospitalized for nearly a week with a Gila monster bite.
Cody Machen has been hospitalized since Thursday after being bit by the venomous lizard while he was holding it, KRQE-KBIM TV, Albuquerque, reported.
"It's the most painful thing. It's more painful then a rattlesnake bite. I knew it was bad," Machen told reporters.
Machen's arm reportedly ballooned to three times the girth it was before the bite. Doctors will be required to perform surgery on Machen's arm if the swelling doesn't subside, KRQE-KBIM reported.
Gila monsters, native to numerous deserts in the southwest, can be 2 feet long and have rigid teeth that release venom while biting into their victims. The lizard's bite is usually not fatal to humans.