Friday, October 8, 2010

Caution: Florida's still a wild place

Trisha Shears
Venomous Florida water moccasins can be found near waterways, swamps and wetlands. 
The news that a tourist from Rhode Island was bitten by a venomous water moccasin in the resort area near Orlando is a stark reminder that Florida is still a wild and dangerous place, despite decades of effort pave every square inch of it, thus eliminating anything native and natural.

Apparently the man was bitten as he walked near the swimming pool at the J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes resort. The posh resort is surrounded by water – a golf course with lakes and a swamp. Evidently he stepped on the snake and was bitten on the left ankle.

At last report, the man was in intensive care at a nearby hospital, his leg swollen and in extreme pain. He was treated with anti-venom, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Water moccasins, also called cottonmouth moccasin's for the white lining in their mouths, are found throughout the southeastern United States, according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

They are primarily active at night but like to lie in the sun during the day because it helps their digestive metabolism.

Long-time Floridians know that snakes are present and that it is unwise to stalk around in the wilderness without using caution. Cottonmouth moccasins are not aggressive and won't attack unless agitated, according to the Smithsonian. The caution "they won't bother you if you don't bother them" comes to mind.

If they feel threatened they will stand their ground, however. An angry moccasin will coil his body and threaten an intruder with bared fangs.

Information from the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution and the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report. 

1 comment:

T. Allan Smith said...

As we were growing up, my mama always cautioned us when we were going out into the woods. She said don't put your hands or your feet where you can't see. And pay attention. There are a lot of critters out there, some friendly, some not.