National

The teen was mowing the lawn when snakes attacked — and started biting

Venomous or harmless? How to tell the difference between SC snakes

The snakes are coming out for the spring season in South Carolina. Watch how to tell the difference between a deadly cottonmouth snake and a nonvenomous rat snake in this video.
Up Next
The snakes are coming out for the spring season in South Carolina. Watch how to tell the difference between a deadly cottonmouth snake and a nonvenomous rat snake in this video.

A teenager was recently mowing a lawn when he was attacked by snakes.

Connor Stoll has wounds on the back of his right leg from where he was bitten by two snakes on July 11 while he was doing yard work just outside of Jacksonville, Florida, WTXL.com reported.

The 17-year-old was using a push lawn mower when the snakes struck him on his calf and knocked him down, according to news4jax.com.

“I fell to the ground and I went over and moved to our truck and just sat there and tried to stop the bleeding from my leg,” Stoll said of his reaction, WTXL.com reported.

Stoll went to an area hospital, where he was treated for 7 hours, but doctors told the teenager it could have been worse since the “venom from the snakes never entered his body,” according to news4jax.com.

A huge rattlesnake, estimated to be about six feet long, was spotted in a field in Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday, March 26.

The 17-year-old did not capture the snakes that attacked him, but he said his doctors thought the snakes might have been “some sort of rattlesnake because of how high it bit me up on my leg,” WTXL.com reported.

Stoll is a young entrepreneur, owning a lawn service since he was a 10-year-old boy. In spite of the recent run in with snakes, he told news4jax.com that he will continue to mow lawns.

The encounter did give him some caution, and he offered advice for those who come in contact with snakes.

“Watch out for snakes and don’t mess with them because it’s a pain and you have a lot to deal with and it hurts a ton,” Stoll said, according to WTXL.com. “You just don’t want to mess with them.”

Residents of the Carolinas need to be aware of what to do should they come in contact with a snake, and certainly if they are bitten by one. Based on early statistics, this could be a record year for reported snake bites in South Carolina.

Midway through June, the Palmetto Poison Center in Columbia had fielded 73 calls reporting snake bites across the state, according to Jill Michels, managing director.

“We’re on track to have another 200,” Michels said about 2018, after the poison center received at least 200 calls in each of the past two years, well above the average of 150.

If bitten by a snake, the Palmetto Poison Center offers these instructions:

• Wash the bite with soap and water

• Do not apply a tourniquet or ice

• Do not try to suck the venom from the bite site

• Seek immediate medical attention

For those who encounter a snake, but are not attacked, there is one critical thing to do to prevent a bite — as difficult as it may seem — stay calm.

Humans are much bigger than snakes, so they don’t see any benefit in biting” if they aren’t protecting themselves. “They’ll more than likely slither away to safety on their own,” the City of Buckeye Fire Department wrote in its Facebook post.

In South Carolina, there are several venomous snakes including the canebrake rattlesnake, pigmy rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, copperhead, cottonmouth, and coral snake.

In North Carolina, there are 37 species of snakes, but only six of them are venomous. A good way to identify venomous snakes is by the shape of their head — most of them have a triangular or diamond-shaped head.

In 2016, Wayne Grooms, a West Columbia naturalist, died after a snake bit him at Santee National Wildlife Refuge. Grooms’ death stunned many people in South Carolina because fatal snakebites are so rare. No more than a half dozen people die nationally each year from snakebites.

According to the SC Department of Natural Resources, there are 38 types of snakes in the state, only six of which are venomous. Of those six, there are only two considered abundant to common - the cottonmouth and copperhead. Here are ways to ID them.

Follow more of our reporting on

See all 8 stories
Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments