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LOCAL: Rattlesnake found at MCHS

Selina Iglesias: Greene Publishing, Inc.

Florida is known for several things, and the number of deadly snakes is one of them. And when the territory of humans and snakes collide, bad things occur for both parties. The Madison County High School (MCHS) football team came close to learning this the hard way, an anonymous source reported to Greene Publishing, Inc.

According to the source, the MCHS football field is in ‘desperate need of some landscaping,’ as the grass along the fence line is overgrown – making it a perfect home for a snake.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 19, the source came to the school to pick up his son from football practice and spoke with the coaches and players about the jungle growing alongside the fence rows, warning of the potential threat of snakes.

Several players and even the coaches had verbalized that they had seen a snake coiled up by the fence row earlier in the day, and one player was near the snake unknowingly at a point in time.

After some searching, a six foot rattlesnake was found poking its head through the fence. The source found a pipe and killed it, and the concern and fear in the air was palpable. The rattlesnake was left by the District School Board Annex, as it was “school property,” alongside the pipe and several little red flags around it to alert others of its presence.

The subject of the overgrown grass and the discovery of the rattlesnake was brought up to Madison County School Superintendent, Dr. Karen Pickles, and she claimed she would get a crew out to the school over the weekend to assess the state of the football field.

Having snakes around school property is obviously dangerous. With a rattlesnake bite, most deaths occur between six and 48 hours after the bite. If antivenom treatment is given within two hours of the bite, the probability of recovery is greater than 99 percent.

About 25 percent of the time, rattlesnake bites are “dry,” meaning they don't inject any venom, however, any bite from a venomous snake should be taken seriously and is considered a life-threatening medical emergency.

“The school has to do something about this,” said the source. “They need to clean [the grass] up and if they don't have enough people, they need to hire more.”

Greene Publishing, Inc. contacted Superintendent Pickles about this issue. “For the record, the same concerned parent was not overly concerned about public safety. I say this because this parent left the poisonous snake, with the head still attached, at the District Office,” said Pickles. According to Pickles, she asked if Head Coach Mike Coe had submitted any work orders or reported any issues with the grass. Pickles said that Coe had not submitted anything, but MCHS Assistant Principal Rod Williams had instructed janitors to do it. Pickles said Coe told her that even though it was not in their job descriptions or stated duties, he (Coe) and Assistant Coach James Ertzberger routinely mow the grass [around the facility], and always have.

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