Expert offers advice on spotting deadly snakes

By Ashley Harding, General assignment reporter, aharding@wjxt.com
Published On: Jul 14 2014 11:58:22 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 15 2014 12:05:00 AM EDT

A St. Johns County man could SOON be out of the hospital; he's still recovering from a water moccasin bite. His injury is just the latest in a string of snake bites. As the summer continues on -- experts want to help you protect yourself. Channel 4's Ashley Harding spoke with the owner of a local reptile store.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A St. Johns County man is recovering in the hospital after he was bitten by a water moccasin on Sunday.

Jon Heater's injury was the latest in a string of snake bite incidents in the area, and News4Jax talked to experts about what you need to know.

There are six types of venomous snakes in Florida.

In our area, experts say people need to watch out for the water moccasin, the coral snake, the pygmy rattlesnake, and the eastern diamondback.

"Venomous snakes are always very fat, short, stubby and bulky. It's an easy giveaway. They do have a diamond head and they do have the cat eyes," said snake expert Stephen Brezil.

Brezil said with diamondbacks, people need to be aware of the distinct diamond pattern on their back. Pygmy rattlers are very small in size, rarely bigger than a foot. Water moccasins are aquatic and black and often swim with their heads sticking out. As for coral snakes, Brezil said just to look at the colors.

"They stand out when you see them,” said Brezil, who owns Blazin' Reptiles on San Jose Boulevard. “They spend so much time underground so they're not commonly out, so you won't really see them roaming,"

One way to avoid these creatures is to take care of your lawn and keep it clean.

"Log piles are going to be a prime subject,” Brezil said. “If you're piling any kind of wood, leaves, brush; not keeping your yard clean, not keeping it well-manicured, it's going to give them spots for them to hide.”

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