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On Heels Of Rattlesnake Biting Deputy Twice, Franklin County Residents Urged To Be Careful

A coiled rattlesnake
Franklin County Sheriff's office Facebook

On the heels of a local law enforcement officer receiving two snake bites, Franklin County officials are alerting residents to keep their distance from the area’s reptiles.

While it’s unclear just how many people have been bitten by snakes in Franklin County, Alvert Floyd with Animal Control says there are a lot of them in the region.

“Yes, we have a variety of snakes,” he said. “We have the black racer, we have the garter snake, we have the gray rat snake—which is the oak snake—we had a red rat snake--which is [also] an oak snake, but we there are a different variety of snakes here in Franklin County.”

And, Floyd adds there are a few venomous snakes in particular to watch out for.

“And, that would be your cottonmouth, your diamondback rattlesnake, your pygmy rattlesnake, and your coral snake,” he added.

While investigating a suspicious vehicle at an area airport last weekend, Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy Travis Osburn got bitten twice by a venomous snake.

According to the sheriff’s office, Osburn has made a full recovery from the rattlesnake bites.

Still, the incident prompted Sheriff A.J. Smith to warn residents about the dangers of snakes and to stay aware of their surroundings outdoors.

“I have been personally been affected by this, and I want to thank him for sending out that message,” said Sarah Hinds, the administrator of the Franklin and Gulf County Health Departments.

Hinds says while her situation occurred in Gulf County, her dogs were recently bitten by a cottonmouth snake. She adds it occurred while they were in a fenced in backyard.

“I have three boxers—two were bit by the snake,” she added. “It’s just a simple morning, brought them outside, and heard some barking, and realized they were actually in danger. So, I brought all three. I realized two of the three were bit. So, I had to bring them to the hospital. It was a very scary situation.”

So, Hinds says it’s important all residents are mindful of their outdoor surroundings at all times in order to protect themselves, loved ones, and pets.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.