MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida is known for being a terrific travel destination but visitors and natives alike need to know that snakebite season is here and the biting has already begun.
Each year from April to October, the number of reported snakebites peaks during these months due to warmer temperatures.
South Florida is home to 47 species of snakes four of which are venomous.
The Water Moccasin (or Cottonmouth), Coral Snake, Pygmy Rattlesnake, and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake are extremely venomous.
The Coral Snake, which looks a lot like the non-venomous Corn Snake, can be distinguished by a simply rhyme. “Red touches yellow, dangerous fellow. Red touches black, friend to Jack.”
The Coral Snake, and other venomous snakes, are mainly seen in rural areas during their most active hours of dawn and dusk.
While most venomous bites are accidental, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Venom Response Team says there are things you can do reduce your risk of being bitten this summer:
Be aware that snakes tend to be more active first thing in the morning and at night in warmer weather
Stay away from tall grass and piles of leaves when possible
Wear closed toed shoes instead of flip-flops during peak hours
If you are bitten, remember to stay calm and call 9-1-1 immediately
“Living with these snakes is just a part of living in South Florida,” said Lt. Scott Mullin of MDFR’s Venom Response Team. “Not all bites are life threatening but it’s our goal save a snakebite victim’s life as well as their affected limb.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each year, an estimated 7,000–8,000 people suffer venomous snake bites in the United States, an average of five result in death.