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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 05-02-2008, 07:52 AM   #1
wcreptiles
Venom Response Team Lt.: Florida Snakebite Rate Rising

I've include the readers comments. A sample includes; "Why in the hell would you own a Pet Cobra?", "The only good snake is a DEAD snake.", "Just goes to prove that not all of the nuts are in the nuthouse." and a very caring response "Sorry, but the guy got what he deserves."

I found one thread on Fauna about "Jack Hildreth of Eugenes Reptiles" I hope he has a speedy recovery. When I read an article I sometimes forget about the person and their family.

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Venom Response Team Lt.: Florida Snakebite Rate Rising
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By KEITH MORELLI | The Tampa Tribune

Published: May 1, 2008

TAMPA - A deadly pet cobra that bit its owner this week is part of a growing trend of venomous bites that has some emergency rescue workers squirming.

"It has been on the rise," said Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Venom Response Team Lt. Eddie Ballester. The team houses an antivenin bank that helps treat poisonous snakebite victims across the Southeast United States.

"More and more people are getting these permits," he said, "and many are just so they can have these snakes as pets. Along with that, unfortunately we are seeing an increase in bites."

Some are for those who milk their snakes and sell the venom to others who make and bottle antivenin, he said. Others breed and sell them.

"But," he said. "We are finding that a majority are for pets."

And many are for snakes that are not indigenous to Florida.

The most recent such bite occurred in Bushnell just after midnight Wednesday.

Jack Eugene Hildreth, 50, of 1620 N. West St., Bushnell, called 911 at 12:21 a.m., and told the dispatcher he had been bitten by his pet Indian cobra. He was conscious when paramedics arrived but lost consciousness soon thereafter, authorities said. He was taken to Leesburg Regional Medical Center and then flown to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the incident, but so far investigators have been unable to interview Hildreth about the bite because of his condition.

Hildreth received a permit from the state commission to possess venomous reptiles. His permit expires Jan. 7.

Commission spokeswoman Joy Hill said Hildreth on Thursday did regain consciousness at the hospital, but it would be at least a few days before he could be interviewed by investigators.

"He's not really in a position to talk to us right now," she said early this afternoon.

Investigators will go by his home to inspect the cages, she said, but it doesn't appear anything was out of order.

It was just one of those things, she said.

"If you have snakes," she said, "you are going to get bit."

It took 20 vials of Indian cobra antivenin to treat Hildreth, Ballester said, and that's a lot.

The South Florida team flew 10 vials up early Wednesday morning and then doubled that amount Wednesday afternoon. Hildreth was in critical but stable condition at the Orlando hospital on Wednesday. His condition today was unavailable per his family's request, a hospital spokesman said.

Ballester said Hildreth required more antivenin than usual.

"He needed more antivenin because it was such a venomous bite," he said.

Twenty vials, he said, "is a significant amount."

Antivenins are as varied as the venomous snakes out there, and a snakebite by a specific poisonous snake requires an antidote specific to that snake. The antivenin bank has antidotes for every kind of venomous snake alive, Ballester said.

So, knowing what kind of snake is involved is critical, he said.

"Often, we will inform the victim of a snakebite that, even if he or she destroys the snake, not to discard it," Ballester said. "Take a picture of it. Anything so we may properly match it to an antivenin."


Reporter Keith Morelli can be reached at (813) 259-7760 or kmorelli@tampatrib.com.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/may...escue-workers/
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Reader Comments
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Posted by ( thatguyfl82 ) on May 1, 2008 at 12:46 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

Why in the hell would you own a Pet Cobra? I'm sorry your just asking for it. Donate it to the zoo and maybe they'll let you feed it once in awhile. No Sympathy from me what so ever.

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Posted by ( commentcava ) on May 1, 2008 at 12:48 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

Let me get this right....the idiot has a "pet" that is a deadly venomous snake, and it bit him and almost killed him. What the Sam Hill is ANYONE doing keeping a deadly snake as a pet? The snake is not native to this area, and the owner was not displaying the snake for educational purposes, like at a zoo, so why did he have it to begin with? And now, I am sure that the fine taxpayers of this area are paying for the medical care for this Einstein, at least for bringing in the antivenin serum that was needed to save his life. No one needs to keep a poisonous snake as a pet, and while I don't think it should be outlawed, he should be forced to pay for all costs associated with his care and recovery, and be forced to have insurance to cover any future costs from these types of accidents so that taxpayers are not held liable for his stupidity.

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Posted by ( jj63 ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:04 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

I hate snakes and cannot understand why people have them as pets, especially if they know they are venomous. They belong out in their own habitat.

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Posted by ( SaveFerris ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:11 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

WTF!!?? An Indian Cobra is not a pet, it's a prop in an Indiana Jones movie, like in Raiders of the Lost Arc. It's also a deadly snake that does not have any affection for the hand that feeds it.

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Posted by ( RFL ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:16 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

Just goes to prove that not all of the nuts are in the nuthouse.

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Posted by ( rckmajs ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:21 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

The only good snake is a DEAD snake.

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Posted by ( bosoxbomb ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:23 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

Ssssssnakes are nice.......people are mean!!

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Posted by ( sportsfan34205 ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:26 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

commentcava got it right..... the guy's an IDIOT!!! and anyone else that owns venomous reptiles! There is absolutely no sane person that would want to have these as pets. The state should outlaw ownership of anything venomous except by a Licensed zoological garden or laboratory that makes antivenin.
Sorry, but the guy got what he deserves.

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Posted by ( livinglife ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:40 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

This is ridiculous! Who in their right mind would own such a nuisance!

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Posted by ( GF ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:43 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

Maybe he took over the Apopka Snake Farm from Ernest when he died.

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Posted by ( mailman ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:44 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

There is nothing wrong with having a snake as a pet, barring one that has fangs! Only a person smoking the happy weed would take such a chance. However, you cannot own a pet that is easier to care for, likes human contact (warmth) and will not bite the hand that feeds it. Add to this no walking is required, no litter boxes need to be changed, just some bedding once a week and no barking or furniture soiled. I owned close to 40 of them at one time and never regretted it.

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Posted by ( 2old4jail ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:54 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

WHY is the State of Florida granting licenses to people to have deadly snakes as freakin' PETS???? I agree with the poster who said you should have to be a licensed vet or zoologist to obtain one of these things. It's bad enough when the neighbor's boa gets loose in the neighborhood. What's going to happen when one of these things gets loose and some kid ends up dead! RIDICULOUS! Make him pay for every cent it cost to rescue him.

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Posted by ( 2old4jail ) on May 1, 2008 at 1:57 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

commentcava: "... and be forced to have insurance to cover any future costs from these types of accidents so that taxpayers are not held liable for his stupidity."

AMEN! Who wants to volunteer to be the insurance agent who goes into the home? Show of hands?

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Posted by ( luvco ) on May 1, 2008 at 2:18 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

Darwin is waiting.

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Posted by ( kimbo ) on May 1, 2008 at 2:22 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

Sounds like insurance is a good idea.

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Posted by ( mailman ) on May 1, 2008 at 2:31 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

2oldforjail, even though I do not believe in the adage "the only good snake is a dead one", the only way I go into this house is with a 12 ga shotgun stuffed to the gills with #6 shot.

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Posted by ( RevThaddeusPaulk ) on May 1, 2008 at 2:53 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

bosoxbomb
“Ssssssnakes are nice.......people are mean!!”

Mean snakes suck, nice people swallow.

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Posted by ( SwampRunner ) on May 1, 2008 at 3:12 p.m.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Posted by ( u_talkin_to_me ) on May 1, 2008 at 3:38 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

I'm not sure if he "deserved it", but he sure was asking for trouble having that thing around. Sometimes people pay dearly for their stupidity.... I hope the guy recovers though.

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Posted by ( suemccartin ) on May 1, 2008 at 3:53 p.m.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Posted by ( RobKay ) on May 1, 2008 at 4:04 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

Why exactly would Florida give someone a permit to have a deadly snake for a pet? A snake that could live and breed here if it escaped or was released. Oh, I know. Ms Storms thinks its a religeous thing so it must be OK. So who pays for it when (Not If) something goes wrong???

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Posted by ( Old_FL_Crab ) on May 1, 2008 at 9:19 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

mailman got it right. Not all snakes are bad though I never convinced my mother of that. But pet COBRA? Man did not deserve to have medics interfere with law of natural selection.
Darwins "Survival of the fittest." can be paraphrased as
"Fools die young."

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Posted by ( Vulcanized ) on May 1, 2008 at 9:53 p.m. ( Suggest removal )

RobKay - You are right on target there with your comment. We already have a problem with boas and anacondas in South Florida. We should not be allowing something that could cause an even worse problem if it escapes and breeds. And I am sorry but the guy was "asking for it." We're not talking about a mammal that has some ability to learn and be domesticated (not that all can be). We are talking about a reptile that has nothing but base instinct.
 
Old 05-02-2008, 12:27 PM   #2
cahrens
Hmm, that was an interesting read. It never ceases to amaze me that people are so intolerant and ignorant. Although I do agree that you venomous guys/girls are out of your mind, I still think it's your right to be able to keep them as long as they don't pose a threat to anyone else. Live and let live.... Anyone remember that concept?
 
Old 05-16-2008, 12:18 PM   #3
PAULSCHUMANN
Any word on Jack's recovery?
 
Old 05-20-2008, 05:31 PM   #4
1mojo
Dogs have also killed thier owners.
 

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