HAUPPAUGE - The Suffolk County SPCA says that a 22-year-old man was bitten on his eyelid by one of his pet rattlesnakes, likely resulting in permanent damage.

According to Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk SPCA, the man owned two rattlesnakes.  Gross says the man was bitten last Friday morning, but didn’t call 911 until later that night.

“He could have died,’ said Gross.

The SPCA took possession of the animals and sent them to a sanctuary out of state.  Owning a rattlesnake as a pet is illegal.

In a news release, DEC Region 1 Director Peter A. Scully said dangerous reptiles are becoming a “common occurrence” on Long Island.

“All too often, individuals do not realize the difficulties and complications that arise from owning one of these animals,’ said Scully in the release.

The victim will spend the next week recovering in the hospital.