A Jacksonville couple spotted a giant rattlesnake that looked to be 6 feet long by the Brannan Field and the Argyle Forest exit, snapped some photos and a video, then posted them to Facebook.
As of Monday evening, that post was shared more than 41,100 times.
Lindsey Nilsen and Zack Dick spotted the snake when they were driving, and were so shocked by its size they pulled over.
"It struck my attention because we're going about 70 mph and I saw that snake," Dick said. "I've never seen one that large. It had to have been 6 foot. I think it's mixed with Godzilla."
The snake was right by their car when they pulled off the road, but it later slithered away.
"It was definitely an adrenaline moment," Dick said. "Do not get near it, and do not let your kids or animals near it."
"You definitely don't want to mess with him," Nilsen said.
Action News Jax reporter Amber Krycka also spoke with Karen Parker of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who identified the snake as an eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
"They usually range in size from 3 to 6 feet, so it's a healthy snake for sure," Parker said. "As the weather gets warmer, we're probably going to see more snakes come out to sun themselves and look for food."
When asked about what residents should do if they come across any dangerous snake like the one spotted by Nilsen and Dick, Parker said, "It is wildlife and people are going to see them as it get warmer. Basically the best thing you can do is observe it from a distance and don't try to capture it. Just stay away from it."
Parker added that factors like development and construction aren't necessarily the cause for this snake sighting, and that it could've just been hunting rats or trying to sun.
"I checked it out and the record for a rattlesnake is 8 feet 3 inches, which is abnormally large," said Parker. "So we recommend just staying away. We do have a lot of good information on our website about how to identify a venomous snake and we've also got a brochure about living with snakes in Florida."
If you are bitten by a rattlesnake or other venomous snake the Mayo Clinic lists these steps:
- Remain calm and move beyond the snake's striking distance.
- Remove jewelry and tight clothing before you start to swell.
- Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.
- Clean the wound, but don't flush it with water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing.
Be sure not to to do these things:
- Don't use a tourniquet or apply ice.
- Don't cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom.
- Don't drink caffeine or alcohol, which could speed your body's absorption of venom.
- Don't try to capture the snake. Try to remember its color and shape so that you can describe it, which will help in your treatment.
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