Past the black panther. Past the parrot. And a right at the white tiger, Mark McCarthy leads us into the snake-house.
File photo of Eastern Coral Snake
LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. - Past the black panther. Past the parrot. And a right at the white tiger, Mark McCarthy leads us into the snake-house.
“Let me move (the box) over here on the table,” he says.
Mark owns and operates McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary near Loxahatchee, in unincorporated West Palm Beach.
In the box, an eastern coral snake. One of four venomous snakes found in Palm Beach County.
“The one tale: red touches yellow, kills a fellow,” he reminds us.
It was found recently in a garage in The Acreage.
“They’re a secretive snake.You don’t normally see them that often. But, like that good rain we had just a while back that probably brought some more of the snakes also,” he said.
If there’s a snake season in Florida, it’s now. Springtime.
“As soon as it starts warming up, the temperature starts getting warm during the day, that’s making the cold blooded animals move more so. During the cold spells they’re not moving so much,” he said.
It’s also mating season, which can bring even the most timid snake out and on the move.
“This bobbing that this one's doing, this is a sign of breeding. They’ll kind of jerk like that to try to stimulate the others to breed,” he said.
These are Eastern Diamondbacks, another venomous snake that's native to south Florida.
Mark was bit by one about a year-and-a-half ago.
“I just got some numbness here on the end of my thumb. I was in a coma for three days,” he said.
These are Pygmy rattlesnakes. Also found here. Small and fast.
“They’re hot little dudes. They’ll bite ya quick,” he said.
The best thing to do if you see one is leave it alone.
Remember, just like us, the snakes are on the move for three reasons: water, food and love.
The 4th venomous snake native to Palm Beach County is the water moccasin.