Rattlesnake bites man in Polk County

Man thought rattlesnake was dead

BARTOW, Fla. – A man who was handling a rattlesnake that he thought was dead was bitten on the hand, according to Polk County officials.

The man was at River Ranch hunting grounds at 6:30 p.m. Sunday when he picked up the snake, which had been shot in the midsection. The 5 1/2-foot rattlesnake bit the man on the hand.

Polk County Fire Rescue airlifted the snakebite victim to Osceola Regional Medical Center so anti-venom could be administered.

"You have to be extremely careful with wildlife. Leave snake handling to the professionals,” battalion Chief Bobby Bohn said. “We all know there are a lot of rattlesnakes in the River Ranch/Indian Lake Estates area. Just last month our crews were extinguishing a brush fire when one slithered by.”  

Permits are required to own captive rattlesnakes in Florida. You can find the location of all venomous snake and lizard permit holders on the map below: