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Coral snake spared the machete in Melbourne

An undated handout photo released by biologist Mark Bailey Monday, June 29, 2009 shows a coral snake seen central Alabama. The snake is rare, especially north of Alabama's Coastal Plain. (AP Photo/via Conservation Southeast, Mark Bailey) (Associated Press)

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Michelle Redfern's first instinct when she saw a 2-foot coral snake slithering in her garage Wednesday morning was to grab a machete or start the rhyme. "Red touches Black, Friend of Jack; Red touches Yellow, Kill a Fellow ..."

"Black on yellow, deadly fellow ... Oh God, it's an actual coral snake," she thought.

Her husband was barefoot and wearing boxers in the garage at her home in Magnolia Park in Melbourne, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

"I grabbed my boots and machete and assessed the situation, and then I used the machete to scoop it into the pitcher," she said. 

Redfern, owner of the popular Kona Ice of Central Brevard Co. Truck, says the only time she's seen a coral snake was at a zoo.

"I spent some time in Texas, and rattlesnakes are big and scary, but I know that coral snakes don't strike," she said. 

She actually had a turn of heart and ended up rescuing and relocating the venomous snake. 

Her husband, William Navarro II, helped out, too.

"He was my driver and cameraman," she joked. 

"We actually saved it from a neighborhood cat the second time around," she said. "At which point, we felt, for the sake of both animals, we'd handle the situation. We didn't want to kill the coral snake because, being a native Florida resident, this was the first time having the opportunity to come up close and personal with such a beautiful creature."

This particular coral snake, known as the eastern coral snake, is among the six most dangerous snakes in Florida, which has 44 species. While its bite is serious and should receive immediate medical attention, fatalities are rare. Coral snakes generally do not bite and if they do, it is often a dry bite or they inject a very low volume of venom.

It's quite rare to see one in a housing area.

"We believe that with a lot of debris being cleared from the Hibiscus Road recently, this snake may have been forced out of its natural habitat. Live and let live."