connectVideoRattlesnake warning, drive away curious forester
A Florida community was rattled on Monday after spotting a homeless man on a trip around the town of Jacksonville Beach with a large poisonous snake in his arms.
Several locals reported the unusual — and admittedly scary — observation at the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, who then have a few officers to the scene. Upon arrival, the police asked the man, who has not been named, to carefully place the reptiles in the back of a patrol car as they waited for back-up of wildlife officials.
“He says that he and God obliged him to keep him safe from traffic,” Jacksonville Beach Police Department Sgt. Larry Smith told WJAX, adding the man was found to do what “show and tell” with the snake around the area.
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Seems he told the group of officers he found the hose on the side of the road earlier in the day.
“All of a sudden, I just saw the police and he was just staring at him screaming,” put the hose in the car and the man still had it around his head,” Kaylie Leonard, who witnessed the ordeal, told WJAX.
Eventually, the handlers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrived to remove the hose from the vehicle and move to a nearby wooded area. No one was injured in the process.
“Well, now, in Jacksonville Beach this morning…. 6, 7, or 8 feet? I’m not on the tape,” the police department tweeted on Tuesday, the treasures of the critter of the size. “Thank you to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for the move of our guest.”
In a WTLV-TV report, a video shows a FWC officer pulling the hose from the patrol car of the back seat. The rattles on the end of the hose to the tail can be heard shaking as the officer drops the snake in a plastic container.
The snake was allegedly identified as an eastern-diamondback — one of the six venomous rattlesnakes found in the Sunshine State.
The eastern diamondback is the largest venomous snake in the U.S., reaching up to 8 metres in length as a mature adult. The hose usually keeps quiet and blends in with the surroundings, only making noise or the store if it feels threatened.
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“The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is a large, impressive, and potentially dangerous snake. It can strike up to 2/3 of the body length; a 6-foot individual may strike 4 feet. These factors, as well as others, make this a snake that should just be left alone and not bothered,” the Florida Museum warns on its website.
The man caught wearing the rattlesnake is not facing any charges, according to multiple news outlets.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.