PALM CITY, Fla. — A 21-year-old Amazon driver is in critical but stable condition after she was bitten by a "highly venomous" rattlesnake in Palm City on Monday.
In a Facebook post, the Martin County Sheriff's Office said the driver was delivering a package in the Highlands Reserve community Monday night when an eastern diamondback rattlesnake coiled near the front door bit her. The agency later said it was 5 feet long.
"The driver walked to the door, put the package down and was struck by the snake," the sheriff's office wrote.
The driver immediately became ill and called out for help.
Deputies arrived at the scene within minutes and found the victim on the ground outside the home.
"She was sort of lethargic in her interaction with our deputies, limited conversation," Martin County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy John Budensiek said. "It was obvious when they were walking up to ask her what had taken place, you could see the bite on her inner thigh just above the knee."
The woman was taken to a local hospital, where she's now in "very serious condition," the sheriff's office said.
Sgt. Brian Tyson caught the snake from the front door.
"Do you get a lot of calls about snakes in that area in general?" WPTV reporter Joel Lopez asked.
"We do, absolutely, we get them quite frequently," Tyson responded.
"It was aggressive. I used a long tool, a long pole to pin the snake against the wall and took care of it."
Tyson said this time of year MCSO sees an uptick of calls about snakes and because of its size temper and the small children in the area, the snake was put down.
"I did not think that it was a smart idea to try to trap it and then release it," Tyson said. "I'm sure the citizens of that community would have been quite upset had we done that.
Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, which are highly venomous, are "very common to this area," according to the Martin County Sheriff's Office.
Amy Kight with Busch Wildlife Sanctuary said people need to remember that snakes love our tropical climate and that most of them are completely harmless.
"When you see them, the best thing to do is just leave them alone," Kight said. "Assume all snakes have the potential to be dangerous, especially if you're not good at identifying them."
Amazon spokesperson Branden Baribeau released the following statement regarding the incident:
"Our thoughts are with the driver and we hope for a full recovery after this frightening incident. Together, with the Delivery Service Partner, we're looking into the circumstances surrounding this incident and continue to make sure that drivers understand they should not complete a delivery if they feel unsafe."