Florida Boy Mistakes Rattlesnake for Stuffed Animal
In a terrifying close encounter, a nine-year-old boy in Longwood, Florida, mistook a rattlesnake for a stuffed animal in his grandmother’s backyard.
The incident took place last Wednesday while Angelo Owens was visiting his grandmother. He spotted something in the corner of the yard and initially thought it was a harmless toy.
“I thought it was a stuffed animal,” Angelo told WESH 2, a local television station.
Thankfully, the young boy soon realized his mistake and quickly sought help from his family. Upon hearing the sound of a four-foot-long rattlesnake, the family was left in shock.
Angelo’s father, Alex Owens, described the experience as terrifying and admitted to being shaken for a while, fearing for his son’s safety.
The family immediately reached out to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Service (FWC) for assistance. However, FWC specialists were unable to handle venomous snakes, prompting the family to seek help from an experienced Florida hunter named Bob Cross.
With Cross’s assistance, the rattlesnake was safely removed and taken to a reptile center to collect its venom for the production of antivenin.
Reflecting on the incident, Cross emphasized the boy’s quick thinking and luck, stating, “If he hadn’t been smart enough to go look for his mother, or if he had tried to pick him up or get close to him… this would be a different story.”
The Owens family has faced encounters with wild animals before, including coyotes, foxes, and even a bear, but this was their first encounter with a venomous snake.
The eastern rattlesnake, the species involved in the incident, is the largest venomous snake in the United States, growing up to eight feet long. Its bite is extremely painful and releases a potent hemotoxin that can be deadly.
This harrowing incident serves as a reminder to remain vigilant and informed about the wildlife that may inhabit our surroundings, especially in areas where encounters with venomous reptiles are possible.