Critically ill Lucky Strike “snake man” not so lucky with Tommy Goff
Gilbert “Baldhead” Usher, also known as “Snake Man,” is clinging to life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), after he was bitten, for a second time in 8 years, by a Fer-de-lance, one of Belize’s most venomous vipers, known locally as the “Tommy Goff.”
Reports to Amandala are that Usher is currently on life support, and as of 4:00 p.m. today, Usher was still listed in a critical condition at the KHMH’s Intensive Care Unit.
Usher, who is a resident of Lucky Strike Village, located on the old Northern Highway, was deported from the United States several years ago and earns his living by taming snakes, which he displays to tourists who visit the Altun Ha Maya temple area.
In late July 2008, Usher was showing off a Tommy Goff to a Canadian family, in front of his Lucky Strike home, but as he was explaining how dangerous the Fer-de-lance venom is, the snake crawled up his chin, posed in a striking position and bit him on his nose.
The show ended, as Usher quickly told the tourists: “I’ve just been bitten. I have to go and get help.”
He ran up the stairs, still carrying the snake that had just bitten him along with a Boa constrictor (locally known as the “wowla”) around his neck.
About a minute after he went into his house, he fell on the floor and was unable to get back on his feet.
The frightened tourists got into their waiting taxi and left. This Amandala reporter went into the village and alerted villagers that the snake man had been bitten by a Tommy Goff.
Villagers began to gather outside his house and a vehicle came to take him to the hospital, but did not have enough gas to make it to Belize City, so a 911 call was placed and a Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) ambulance was dispatched to meet the vehicle carrying Usher.
After about two weeks in the hospital, Usher survived that first attack.
Amandala had inquired where Usher had sourced the Tommy Goff, which was killed along with the more than a dozen snakes he had inside his house. We were told by a woman, Shan Jones, that she saw the snake in her yard and had called Usher to remove it.
The woman said she advised Usher against keeping the snake, but he had assured her that he could tame it.
Yesterday’s transportation of Usher was similar to the first time he was bitten: a BERT ambulance intercepted the vehicle transporting him around Mile 15, Amandala was told.