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from The Bergen County Record

Professor critical after snakebite

Wednesday, September 22 1999

The Associated Press

TRENTON -- An ecologist who has spent decades studying snakes was bitten by one of his subjects Tuesday and found slumped at the bottom of a stairwell, unconscious and foaming at the mouth.

Howard Reinert, a biology professor at The College of New Jersey, was in critical condition Tuesday night. Authorities believe Reinert was working in his rooftop laboratory when he was bitten on his left hand.

The cries of Reinert's 4-year-old daughter alerted people in the building that her father was hurt. The girl was "hysterical" and could provide no information to police about what happened, campus police Officer Richard Cook said.

Police evacuated the three-story building for an hour while they accounted for all of the snakes. The alleged culprit -- a type of rattlesnake called a Crotalus horridus -- was found in Reinert's lab. The reptile, about 2 feet long, was in a burlap bag in a white bucket in a sink.

Assistant professor Marcia O'Connell said she did not think the bite would be life-threatening because Reinert was most likely given antivenin right away.

Copyright © 1999 Bergen Record Corp

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