BOYNTON BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Coiled and ready to bite in an instant.
A Boynton Beach man is recovering after a water moccasin sunk its teeth into his foot. "You know I had never been bitten by a snake, and I never saw it. I thought maybe I had maybe stepped on a nail," said Ryan Toogood.
Resting easy on his couch days after the attack, Toogood is lucky to be alive.
On his way back from Naples, Toogood and his girlfriend stopped along Alligator Alley to stretch his legs. But a few steps into the grass wearing his flip flops, a venomous water moccasin bit his foot. "There was both that feeling of a puncture and a slam. It was very painful," said Toogood.
He snapped a picture and quickly realized he physically could not drive. Toogood was in too much pain.
Toogood called 911 and was then flown to a Miami-Dade County hospital with the help of the local venom response unit. "Typically, snakes become more active as the weather temperatures increase," said David Hitzig, who runs Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter.
Hitzig said April is usually the start of snake season in South Florida. He suggests anyone who sees a snake in the coming months to walk away from the creature. He also said if someone is bitten, it is smart to take a picture. Hitzig also said dress appropriately for the outdoors. "If you're going to be in a natural area and you're going to be walking around, flip flops are not the best idea," said Hitzig.
Toogood said he has learned his lesson. He said he now knows there really is not a line between suburbia and the wild. "I like the idea that there's a snake out there that bit me. I hope it lives a very long time and gets big and you know I shouldn't have been there," said Toogood.
Experts said Palm Beach County does not have a venom response unit. Hitzig said there is not enough bites in the area to warrant the unit and most hospitals have the necessary antivenin.