Jordan Cueto was coming home from a neighbor’s house at about 9:30 Tuesday night when he noticed a snake in his driveway.
The 17-year-old, who was wearing flip-flops, got closer because he wanted to snap a photo.
But the juvenile water moccasin — also known as a cottonmouth — wasn’t having it.
Instead, the snake bit the teen’s right foot, delivering a dose of venom.
Not thinking much of it at first, Jordan went to bed. But when he woke up in the morning to a painful, swollen foot, he knew he had to tell his parents.
“He couldn’t even walk on it,” said his mother, Lazara Cueto. “We knew he had to get to the hospital.”
After arriving at Memorial Hospital Miramar, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Venom One was called in to get the teen anti-venom.
Lt. Scott Mullin said time is important when it comes to snake bites because the longer the venom is inside, the more damage it can do.
“He got lucky that it wasn’t that bad of a bite,” he said. The teen only had one puncture wound, which Mullin said was probably due to it hitting the flip-flop. Nevertheless, he still needed to get anti-venom — which was flown in via helicopter — in his system to stop the pain and swelling.
By Wednesday evening, Jordan’s mom said her son was in less pain. She said that she and her family had seen snakes in their western Miramar neighborhood but that she never thought anyone would be bitten.
Mullin said he hopes what happened to Jordan will be a lesson to everyone else to wear close-toed shoes at night, especially between April and October when the snakes are out.
“It is not uncommon to see them in South Florida,” said Mullin, who added that recent rain has forced the snakes from lower hidden spots to ground level. “Everyone needs to be careful.”