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Venomous snake bites Wesley Chapel dog

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 17:00:10-04

Kim Hillary knew as soon as her rescue dog came in through the doggy door just days ago, he was bitten. 

The pitbull mix had a head swollen to the size of a balloon, she said. 

"I knew immediately it was a snake bite, I knew immediately it was poisonous," she said. 

Hillary put Peanut out early in the morning, around 5:30 a.m., before he was attacked by a snake she believes to be a Cottonmouth. 

Chris Wirt with A All Animal Control, Tampa specializes in snakes. He points out , going outside in the morning hour when the temperature is cooler is dangerous for you and your pets. Wirt said that's when snakes are looking for somewhere warm and a lot of times, that is your concrete porch. 

"So, if they ate a frog, or a lizard, then it's easier for them to start digesting if they're warmed up."

Wirt says if you see a snake, do not attempt to approach them yourself, because of how dangerous some can be. 

He points out there's four venomous snakes that are familiar in our area: Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, a Coral Snake and a Cottonmouth Water Moccasin. 

Along with the time of day, Wirt suggests you keep your yard trimmed, including your grass and bushes. He also says its best to avoid big bark for mulch because that's where bugs can hide and that attracts larger animals, which then attract snakes. His website also suggests the following:

Keep your distance. Many people underestimate the striking distance of a snake and end up bit.

Do not mess with the snake to try to kill it. You may be surprised to learn that the majority of snake bite victims are not unsuspecting hikers, but untrained persons handling snakes or trying to kill them.

HIllary thankful Peanut is okay today, but says the early morning hour bite made it hard to find a veterinarian hospital with anti venom. She had to take her dog to Blue Pearl in Tampa, quite the drive when time is of the essence, she said.