Clay County

Seven-year-old boy survives venomous snake bite in Green Cove Springs

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A brave little boy from Green Cove Springs is in recovery mode. He had a rare interaction with a venomous snake and was bitten.

Seven-year-old Elijah Bustamante was in good spirits after being bitten by what doctors believe was a water moccasin. It took antivenom, a feeding tube, and nearly a week in the hospital to get him back on his feet.


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It took antivenom, a feeding tube, and nearly a week in the hospital to get him back on his feet.

Action News Jax spoke with Elijah and his mom who explained what happened.

“Elijah was outside in the backyard with my brother and he was playing. He bent over to pick up a rock near a bush and he said the snake jumped out and bit him on his knee,” she said.

Elijah was rushed to Wolfson Children’s Hospital. His mom says by the time he was there, he was shaking uncontrollably.

When it was all said and done, Elijah required seven bags of antivenom as treatment.

Read: Fernandina Beach Fire Department rescue tiny kitten from storm drain

He’s still in a wheelchair today but he is doing much better than he was last week. “It’s not fun because... my brothers and everybody else get to have fun except for me,” Elijah said.

His mom says no matter what he was going through in the last week, little Elijah kept his spirits up. “He started yelling out to his self, ‘You can do it, you can do it, just calm down,’” she said. The family has a warning for other parents with young kids.

“The biggest thing is having a go-to. Knowing what to do. It can happen. It can happen to anybody.”

There are six species of venomous snakes in the state of Florida:

  • Eastern Coral Snake
  • Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin
  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
  • Pygmy Rattlesnake
  • Canebrake (Timber Rattlesnake)
  • Copperhead

People bitten by a venomous snake are urged to call Poison Control immediately. You can learn more about each species of snake here.

Florida’s Poison Control Centers provide free, confidential help with poisoning emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. According to its website, poison center callers can now send photos of their bite and/or the snake so that our poison specialists can immediately determine the type of snake involved.

Calls involving snakebites often require immediate medical care and poison centers will work with the local hospital emergency staff to assess that patient and administer the correct anti-venom.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.