Wildlife officers charge Fort Pierce man with illegally possessing venomous snake at home

Found in an unlocked cage

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators have charged a 39-year-old Fort Pierce man with having a venomous snake in his home without a proper permit, according to reports Friday.

Kevin A. Castle, of the 8400 block of Kenwood Road, was charged with the misdemeanor after authorities in January found an eastern diamondback rattlesnake in an unlocked cage on his back porch. Castle was also issued two warnings for improper caging.

According to a commission news release issued Friday, investigators working on a tip visited Castle’s home on Jan. 28 and observed the snake in an unlocked cage on the back porch. The cage was not properly marked or identified as containing a venomous reptile.

Investigators seized the snake.

The eastern diamondback is a large rattlesnake native to Florida. Adults can grow to an average of 3-6 feet in length and can weigh up to 10 pounds.

A diamondback rattlesnake can strike from a distance equal to two-thirds of its body length. They are best left alone when encountered. It is illegal to possess or transport these snakes without a permit.

“We take captive wildlife regulations very seriously,” Commission Lt. Chris Harris said in the news release.. “Proper permitting, cage and security requirements for venomous snakes are important public safety issues.”

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