A Poolesville man bitten by a poisonous snake returned the snake to the wild before seeking medical attention.

Sam Pettengill found the snake the size of a pencil in his apartment at Kunzang Palyul Choling, a Buddhist temple, on Sunday and was bitten on the finger when he picked it up.

But before going to the hospital, 36-year-old Pettengill, who has been known to buy crickets and worms to set them free, prayed and released the snake in a grassy area.

David Srour of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital notes that most poisonous snake bite victims bring the snake with them — and the snake is usually dead.

A state Natural Resources expert told Pettengill it was almost certainly a copperhead, the only known poisonous snake in Montgomery County. After four rounds of antivenin, Pettengill is expected to return to the temple soon.