Rattlesnakes Common in Area While Weather is Warm
David Lueck, The Trapper Guy, says rattlers don't usually bother people unless they're surprised, but warns rattlesnakes are more commonplace in the Bay area than many realize.
A 6-year-old Riverview boy's unlucky encounter with a rattlesnake Sept. 20 is not all that uncommon in Tampa Bay, said David Lueck, a professional wildlife trapper.
The boy was reportedly playing in his yard in Summerfield when he was bitten at least once by a small rattlesnake. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue firefighters responded and treated the child on the scene before transporting him to SouthBay Hospital for anti-venom treatment.
The snake was captured and transported for positive identification.
According to Lueck, The Trapper Guy, the culprit was most likely a Pygmy rattlesnake, although Diamondback rattlesnakes also are native to the area.
"The Eastern Diamondback can be deadly if someone doesn't get to a hospital immediately," said Lueck. "Pygmy rattlesnake bites are usually just painful but they can be lethal to pets and small children."
Either way, said Lueck, residents should always be on the lookout for rattlesnakes.
"Generally, any time the weather is warm, there are going to be snakes out, and rattlesnakes are common throughout the area," he said. "Probably 5 percent of the calls I get are about poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes, water moccasins and coral snakes."
The best protection, he said, is to be aware and make lots of noise while you're out in your yard or exploring the woods.
"Always watch where you walk and don't sneak around," Lueck said. "You want to make noise. It's when you surprise them that there's a problem."
Lueck, a wildlife trapper for 30 years, noted that Florida is home to 45 species of native snakes, six of which are poisonous—the Eastern Diamondback, Timber rattlesnake, Pygmy rattlesnake, Copperhead and Cottonmouth or water moccasin. Copperheads are only seen in a small area of Florida's Panhandle and Timber rattlesnakes are found only in northern Florida. The other four are found throughout the state.
For more information, visit Lueck's website.
Have you spotted rattlesnakes in your Land O' Lakes yard? Let us know in the comments section.