Nelson Drinkwater shows off his puffy hand, one day after he was bit by a timber rattlesnake. Sarah Watson

An Ocean County man remained hospitalized in serious condition Saturday, two days after stopping to pick up a timber rattlesnake that was trying to cross the road - only to have the animal bite him.

Nelson Drinkwater, 24, of Little Egg Harbor Township, was driving through the Pine Barrens on Chatsworth Road on Thursday when he spotted the 4-foot-long serpent on the shoulder near West Stage Road.

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Drinkwater, a snake enthusiast, decided to move the endangered rattlesnake away from the busy road to the safety of the woods. He pinned the reptile's head with a stick, but when he went to grab it behind its head, the snake bit him in the hand, Drinkwater told The Press of Atlantic City.

Drinkwater said he felt the effects of the venom immediately, experiencing excessive bleeding, swelling, nausea and severe pain. He was flown by medical helicopter to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Campus, in Galloway Township, where he remained Saturday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

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