As the owner of a pest control company, I have had plenty of encounters with sneaky snakes, and I have received panicked calls from customers frantic to know whether or not a specific snake found in their landscape is dangerous, or “poisonous.” This is an understandable concern, but as owner and president of Coby’s Tentless Termite and Pest Control, it is my job to, not only exterminate them, but to make sure you know which venomous snakes in Florida constitute a danger and which ones are virtually harmless.
Snakes are not “poisonous,” but venomous. It is the venom injected into bodies through snakebites that can cause physical harm or death. Poison is something ingested, like if you were to lick your hands after handling a bufo toad or something.
Florida has four venomous snakes that can cause significant harm to humans and pets:
The Eastern Coral Snake. This nasty reptile should be avoided at all costs! It carries a neurotoxin that can paralyze the diaphragm. It has red and yellow, horizontal stripes next to each other along its slithering body, so if you see red! Stop!!
The Florida Cottonmouth aka Water Moccasin. These snakes are, obviously, water reptiles. You can identify them more from what appears to be black eye liner, found on adults and babies, which runs down, along the side of the head. This snake can be a dull black color, or it may have patterns. No matter what, look for the eye liner to identify as a cottonmouth/water moccasin.
The Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake. This one wins the award for being the one most responsible for snakebites in Florida. Beware of this little devil! This is a small snake, as snakes go, measuring only 15-20 inches long. They have a small rattle that sounds more like a buzz than a rattle. They have black spots along their back, and their bites really hurt! Their venom is not fatal, however children should be warned, as their petite size may tempt small hands!
The Eastern Diamondback Rattle. This guy is a biggie! This type grows to be between five and six feet-long, and can easily strike from a coiled position to a distance half its body length. Beware! Do not get too close for any reason, because that is how people get bitten by this snake. You can recognize this snake from the distinct diamond pattern along the body, and a very distinctive rattle at the tail’s end.
I am proud to provide outstanding pest control for your home or business in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, St Pete, Tarpon Springs, Tampa and surrounding areas. If you’ve got a problem with snakes…or any other pest…or you simply have a question…call me at Coby’s Tentless Termite and Pest Control today at 727-498-1977. I’ll be happy to speak with you anytime!
PS: And remember… “As long as God keep’s makin’em, we’ll keep killin’em!”
PSS: Don’t forget to ask about our FREE 58-Point Pest Analysis of your home or office.
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Do you know the difference between frogs and toads? Coby McConnell, owner and president of Coby’s Tentless Termite and Pest Control, knows there is one significant difference about which you should be aware for the health and well-being of yourself, your family and your pets.
Frogs and toads are both tailless amphibians, but there are physical traits that sharply contrast one from the other. Frogs have smooth, moist skin, and are semi-aquatic. Their back legs are longer for jumping, and they are basically harmless.
One species, Bufo toads in Hillsborough County, became native to Florida when they were released in the state’s southern regions in 1955, to control white grubs in sugar cane crops. Bufo Marinus, are a different, potentially deadly breed.
Their skin is dry, rough and warty, they have bony, straight protrusions that align parallel on each side of the head, and their back legs are shorter than those of frogs. One significant trait of the dreaded Bufo toad, otherwise known as a Giant toad, or Cane toad, is the noticeable glands which are found as lumps behind their ears, above the shoulders. These glands release a poisonous secretion when the toads are threatened or handled.
These nasty amphibians are highly-skilled at finding their own food, and have even been known to eat pet food. Be aware, Bufo toads in Hillsborough County can be found practically anywhere, but particularly in your yard’s landscaping. If you come in contact with a Bufo toad, the secretion released can cause burning eyes and skin irritation. If your pet finds a Bufo and ingests the secreted toxin, it can be fatal.
According to Florida Wildlife Extension and the University of Florida, signs your pet may have Bufo toad poisoning include “drooling, head-shaking, crying, loss of coordination, and, in more serious cases, convulsions. The dog’s or cat’s gums often turn red, an indicator used by veterinarians to distinguish toad poisoning from epilepsy. For this reason, pet owners should be familiar with their pet’s normal gum color.”*
In cases of toad poisoning, you will want to thoroughly rinse your pet’s mouth, being careful that the rinse water isn’t swallowed. Examine your pet’s gums and mouth, and gently rub to remove the toxin. In any case, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.
To humanely kill Bufo toads in Hillsborough County, first, be certain that is what you have. Cane toads have been mistaken for native frogs, so be mindful of the differences as stated above. Use gloves when handling to minimize exposure to the toad’s toxins, and put in a plastic zipper bag. Place it in the refrigerator until it goes to sleep, then pop it in the freezer. You will want to leave it in the freezer for several days to make sure it is dead. There are cases cited where these toads have “reawakened” after being in the freezer for too short a time.
If you’ve got a problem with Bufo toads, termites, or any other pest…or you simply have a question…call Coby’s Tentless Termite and Pest Control today at 727.462.0400 and ask for Coby. He’ll be happy to speak with you anytime!
PS: And remember what Coby says… “As long as God keep’s makin’em, we’ll keep killin’em!”
PSS: Don’t forget to ask about Coby’s FREE 58-Point Pest Analysis of your home or office!
*Source: University of Florida, Florida Wildlife Extension