Pygmy rattlesnakes popping up in Seminole County garages

Recent rainfall pushing all snakes to higher ground, wildlife experts say

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County residents are noticing venomous pygmy rattlesnakes moving into their garages. 

Over the past 10 days, wildlife trapper Bob Cross caught five different venomous snakes in or near people's homes. Cross said the number of snakes was unusually high. 

 "I usually catch a lot every year, but I don't catch five in 10 days," he said. 

Cross blamed the drastic increase in recent rainfall in the area. 

"All snakes are popping up right now," he said. "All the rain we've had the last couple months have flooded where snakes like to hide. [As a result,] the snakes are moving to higher ground." 

Eric Gilmour said he hadn't encountered any snakes at his home in the Carillon subdivision near Oviedo, until he recently saw one slithering across his garage. 

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"The closer I got to him, I realize he wasn't just a garden snake," he said. "I quickly grabbed the shovel and cut him in half."   

Experts said the venomous bite from a pygmy rattlesnake likely won't kill you, but it will send you to the hospital and hurt quite a bit. 

"A pygmy rattlesnake, there's no recorded deaths from it, but the bite is very serious," Cross said. 

Less than a mile from Gilmour's home, Dr. Michael O'Connor found himself with a pygmy rattlesnake in his garage. The retired police officer is used to handling those types of reptiles. 

"After I cut his head off, I picked him up, and when I did, his body tried to snap at me," he said. "They will try to attack you. They are very aggressive and will get up and not back down." 

Cross recommends anyone who encounters a venomous snake to call a wildlife trapper to be safe, as opposed to trying to kill it themselves.

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