Rattler vs. rattler


A person’s bed is the last place anyone would expect a snake to visit.


Robert Richardson, senior art & publication production specialist for Florida A&M, was resting at his home on Mission Road Sunday


“About 6 o’clock in the morning, I woke up with a stinging feeling in my foot like a mosquito bit me,” Richardson said.


Richardson’s first instinct was to wipe the irritated area of his foot with alcohol to prevent infection. Richardson, who is diabetic, wasn’t worried about the bite and fell back asleep. About two hours later, he woke up again because his foot itched and the pain of what he thought was a mosquito bite worsened.


“It literally felt like a bee sting or a mosquito got me real good” Richardson shared.


Richardson scratched his foot and fell back asleep, instantly.


Strike! Strike! Strike!


Around 10:30 a.m., Richardson was awakened for a third time by an excruciating pain from the upper middle area on his foot .


“I didn’t feel good, I didn’t feel right, and my foot felt like it was locking in position, like I couldn’t move it or bend it,” Richardson said. “Because I am diabetic, I assumed these symptoms meant that my blood sugar was high. I was lethargic and sleepy for no reason, but I had slept all day the day before, so I knew something wasn’t right.”


Richardson checked his blood sugar level and it was normal. At that point, he knew it was best to seek help. Richardson showered and prepared to head to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.


After leaving the shower, “in the middle of the living room floor, I saw this black thing lying there,” Richardson said. He didn’t think much of it and assumed it was a dead, oversized worm.


He got a broom from the kitchen and swung at the creature, to his surprise, it struck back.

It was a foot-in-a-half long snake.


Richardson looked down at his foot and noticed the two fang marks, and thought “Oh, so you’re the culprit!” He did everything in his power to kill the snake.


“I beat him, I smashed him, I hammered him — anything you can think of, I did it.” 


Richardson, then, put the snake in a plastic bag and drove himself to the hospital.


“Patients that are bit by snakes are top priority because the bite can cause internal bleeding or other serious injuries” said Chris Lengdon, a paramedic at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.


Richardson spent approximately 15 hours at the hospital, while doctors monitored his condition and tried to determine the snake’s type. The snake was sent to the lab and luckily, results showed that it was non-venomous. Richardson and doctors are still uncertain about the type of snake it was. 


The question remains, where did the snake come from?


Richardson said that the snake probably came through the door the night before, as he was bringing groceries in the house.


“I was being lazy and didn’t want to keep opening and closing the door”.

Richardson admitted.


Some precautions that can be taken to prevent snakebites or snake home invasions, are “keeping doors closed and making sure no windows are opened unless there is a screen protector” Richardson suggested.


The first thing to do, in the event that you are bit by a snake, is to try your best to “remain calm” Lengdon said.


“Then, call 911 and if at all possible, take pictures or bring the snake to the hospital with you, so we can quickly determine how to treat the bite” Lengdon informed. 


Richardson returned to work Tuesday in healthy condition.


Richardson, now, takes any necessary precautions at home to prevent any more “Rattler vs. Rattler” encounters.