9-Year-Old Boy Finds Deadly Rattlesnake in Backyard—How It Snuck In
The child said he thought the dangerous reptile was a stuffed animal at first.
Because most people share a habitat with snakes, it's not too uncommon to occasionally see one when you're outdoors. But in some cases, they can find their way into homes or other places where it's a little too close for comfort—especially when they're the venomous variety. These situations can be dangerous for pets or young children who may not know the type of threat they're dealing with. And in one recent incident, a nine-year-old boy found a deadly rattlesnake while playing in his backyard. Read on to see how it snuck in and how the close encounter played out.
A Florida boy came across a highly venomous rattlesnake while playing in his backyard.
On Nov. 7, nine-year-old Angelo Owens was playing in the backyard while visiting his grandmother's home in Wekiwa Springs, Florida. But while searching for lizards, he suddenly noticed something much more serious making its way out from behind a shed, local Orlando Fox affiliate WOFL reports.
"It was all the way back there, and it wasn't moving," Owens told the outlet. "It looked like it was coming out of it, but it was standing really still."
He then realized he was staring down a four-foot eastern diamondback rattlesnake, a highly venomous species native to the area. But the well-camouflaged animal didn't spark panic in him at first.
"At first, I was about to go touch it because I thought it was a stuffed animal, but then I saw its tongue move," Owens told WOFL.
The boy's parents were surprised by his discovery when he went for help.
Once Owens realized the animal in question could be dangerous, he ran to tell his family. But while they first assumed the snake was probably a harmless species making its way through the yard, they soon realized they were dealing with something much more serious when it began to make its telltale warning sound.
"Just a real loud hiss. You could hear it two to three houses away—it was loud," Alex Owens, the boy's father, told local NBC affiliate WESH.
The family immediately called the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation (FWC) to help remove the reptile from their yard. But after representatives from the agency arrived and confirmed it was a rattlesnake, they told the Owens they wouldn't be able to handle the animal due to its venomous nature and instead left them with a list of local animal control companies who could handle the situation, WESH reports.
A snake wrangler who responded to the call was surprised at how the reptile snuck into the yard.
Eventually, the family was able to contact a professional to come and retrieve the rattlesnake. But the seasoned animal wrangler admitted he was surprised by what he found when he got there.
"I don't know how he got into their yard," Bob Cross, a local animal control specialist, told WOFL. "Their wood fence around their house goes down almost to the ground. He really crawled underneath their fence to get in."
Fortunately, the animal was safely removed from the property and relocated to a nearby reptile facility where it will be used to help produce antivenom for treating snakebite victims. But Cross still emphasized how the situation could've had a much worse outcome.
"He is a lucky boy. Had he not been wise enough to go get his mom, or if he had tried to pick it up, or get near it…This would be a different story," he told WESH.
Here's what you should—and shouldn't—do if a rattlesnake ever bites you.
According to Robert Borrego, MD, the trauma medical director at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, it's essential to call 911 and to remain calm in the process. "The worst thing you can do is get excited or walk fast or run," he told local ABC affiliate WPBF during a September interview. "Then, the blood circulates faster, and the venom gets distributed to your body faster."
The next step should be to wash the wound with soap and water and apply a pressure bandage to the wound while on your way to the hospital or awaiting help. But if you're stuck without any medical assistance for a while, there's something to keep in mind.
"If you can't get help soon with the rattlesnake, then you shouldn't put a pressure bandage because you're locking in the poison in that extremity and it's going to cause more damage in that extremity," he told the outlet.