Courtney, 40, fell down the manhole in southwest Houston and was finally rescued this week.
"I came to the realization, you know, this is where I'm going to die," he said.
He's now in a lot of pain with a severe leg injury but wants to thank his rescuers who heard his cries for help.
ORIGINAL REPORT: Man rescued from manhole after claiming he was trapped for 9 days
Being trapped that long, he said he lost track of time.
"Blows my mind. You see, I thought it was six days. Apparently, I went into shock or something, because it was actually nine days," he said.
Courtney described eating a snake and drinking dirty sewer water.
"I caught a snake. I had my pocket knife. I cut the skin off, scraped off the poop area and ate it," he said.
He said there were always at least a few inches of water on the ground, but it sometimes rose to his neck.
"Every time I was like, 'I'm about to drown,'" he said.
Amazingly, Courtney said tips from survival videos helped him stay alive.
"Watching those survival videos, I said, 'I'd never do that.' But I was in that situation and I did it," Courtney said. "I chose to survive."
Courtney does not have insurance and he is unable to work after his injuries. His family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with his expenses.
Report a typo to the ABC13 staff