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Jan 5, 2016

Snake Man: Will He Survive Another Tommy Goff Bite

There are fifty-six types of snakes in Belize, eight of which are poisonous. But before you go killing every snake in sight, there are ways to tell the toxic from the harmless ones. They are distinguished by the shape of the head and locally one man who is known to have mastered that is Gilbert Usher. Unfortunately, on Sunday, Snake Man as he is well-known, was bitten by a Tommy Goff snake in Rock Stone Pond Village and is now fighting for his life. It is not the first time that he has been bitten by a venomous snake and News Five’s Duane Moody has that story.


Duane Moody, Reporting

A snake is not known as a man’s best friend, but for fifty-three-year-old Gilbert Usher, the reptiles are his pets. Usher, who is better known as “Snake Man,” has been living in the Rock Stone Pond Village in rural Belize District where he makes his daily bread showcasing snakes to tourists and locals making their way to the Altun Ha Archeological Site of the Maskall Road. But on Sunday afternoon, Usher was bitten by his newest pet, a Tommy Goff as he was showing it to a friend.


Floyd Herbert

Floyd Herbert, Witness

“Me and my friend was sitting under there and this guy passed and he told my friend that he had something to show him. When he went back to Altun Ha, he went home and he brought that bag. My friend told him, if it is a snake, don’t take it out. He still did and he lost the bag, put his left hand in the bag, took the snake out and he put the bag back on the table. While he had the snake in his left hand, he went to hold it with his right hand and by the time he put his right hand to hold the head, the snake just bit him on his right hand.”


Usher passed out minutes later as the hemotoxic venom of the snake spread through his blood, causing swelling and blisters. After tying his hands with a string, Usher was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he remains on life support.


Floyd Herbert

“Tie it the tightest I can, which I did and as I finished tying his hand, he told me he felt dizzy. So he grab that chair and sit down on it, but he barely sit because I see he just staggered and five seconds after I just see he went back way. He went unconscious. We started to get jumpy, frightened because I neva believe that when a snake bite yo, it would take effect that quick. So I moved him from where he was on that chair and I get a piece of cloth and I spread it down here and we put him to lay down on it. But I remember the last thing he asked me was if I could take him to the hospital. So I hurry get my truck and I reverse it here and we put him in here and we went to meet the ambulance. We meet the ambulance way out there in Sand Hill. He get bit already by Tommy Goff, but that was a bigger one. I don’t know if you remember, but he get bit on his nose. Seven years later, he make history here in Rock Stone Pond again. He get bit by a Tommy Goff, but this time a smaller one. But to me this one here, I would say it has more venom than the other one because of the quickness ah weh this thing happen. It’s like a movie; I never believed this thing mi wah happen so fast I still can’t believe it.”


According to residents in the area, it is the fourth time that “Snake Man” has been bitten by his pets. And indeed it is like déjà vu because seven and a half years ago, in late July 2008, Usher was bitten by his four-foot-long fer-de-lance pet snake. Considered one of the most venomous, the pit viper quick-to-strike bit Usher on the nose and head and he was hospitalized for ten days. The nature lover told News Five on his release from the hospital back in 2008 that he would keep his distance from the Tommy Goff.


Gilbert Usher, Victim of Snake Bite [File: August 4th, 2008]
“Yes, I dah wah nature lover, I could really seh dat.”


Marion Ali
“Now you have more respect for di Tommy Goff.”


Gilbert Usher

Gilbert Usher
“Believe me it would never be …”


Marion Ali
“From a distance.”


Gilbert Usher
“Yes, you could seh dat again. It would never be wise after I gone through weh I gone through, you think ih would ah be wise fi go back go deal wid den deh? No way, fashion or form. No way, fashion or form believe mi. Dehn wah stay wah distance and I wah deh wah next distance. I dah wah wise man; I get wah second shot at life, yoh think I gwein go screw sat up again? Noh man.”


According to woodcarver, Floyd Herbert, he had immediately killed the snake with his machete and the authorities took it away. Duane Moody for News Five.


According to hospital authorities late this evening, Usher remains in a very critical condition on life support. 

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “Snake Man: Will He Survive Another Tommy Goff Bite”

  1. slittery says:

    that is a false fer de lance – common in toledo – herbal medicine is the best remedies to snake bites – he will be bitten one more time to complete the stage

  2. John Moors says:

    I am not surprised the hospital did not have anti venom on hand. I am from Lethbridge Alberta Canada. we have diamond back rattle snakes here…two summers ago a friend of mine got bit and the hospital had no anti venom here either…….they had to go to a veterinarian to get some.

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