Gordon Scheffer, who lives in the Quail Hollow area of Wesley Chapel, was getting his mail when he received a special delivery that he didn’t want, a rattlesnake that he estimates was four feet long.
“It went chi! Chi! Chi! He was informing me that it knew who I was. Then, it curled up,” Scheffer told News Channel 8.
Worried the rattlesnake would disappear into his yard and become a threat to his dogs, Scheffer grabbed a shovel. He quickly realized the snake was longer than the shovel and opted for the gun he keeps in his house. He later posted about the encounter on the NextDoor app, warning neighbors of the threat.
While the rattled homeowner was protecting his furry family, Ken Payette, a ranger with the Boyd Hill Nature Preseve, says killing rattlesnakes can be dangerous. Payette says that more than half of all venomous snake bites occur when people try to kill them. He warns that people should not approach rattlesnakes.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, eastern diamondbacks are found throughout Florida, primarily in areas that contain palmetto thickets, sand pine scrub, and longleaf pine and turkey oak habitats.
Rattlesnakes spend most of their time concealed in vegetation waiting to ambush prey, or during winter months, in gopher tortoise burrows or stump holes. FWC says diamondback rattlesnakes are venomous and can strike a distance up to 2/3 of their body length, and advises rattlesnakes are best left alone when encountered.
FWC has a guide to Florida’s native snakes, and how to live in harmony with them, at this link.