PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Some of the students at the Somerset Academy in Pembroke Pines were excited on Thursday about two on-campus sightings of water moccasins, a venomous snake.
Police officers said the snake sightings are not out of the ordinary since the school at 19620 Pines Blvd., which is near the Chapel Trail Nature Preserve.
The neighboring 450-acre park is home to deer, marsh rabbits, alligators and other wildlife. There are "Beware of Snakes" signs at the park to warn visitors who are there to explore the 1,650-foot boardwalk over the wetlands.
At the school, parents like Claudia Herreros were picking up their children from school.
"I am freaking out because I hope everything is under control," Herreros said. "I trust the authorities."
Police officers said everything was under control. The snakes didn't attack anyone and a wildlife specialist removed them from school property. Officers do want children and adults at the school to be more aware of their surroundings.
There is no need to panic, police said. Dying after a snake attack in the United States is highly unlikely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, snakes attack about 8,000 people in the United States every year, and only about five of those people will die.
Since this the slithering neighbors do visit the school on occasion, administrators say they are taking preventive measures such as placing blue rubber chips in the playground so that the snakes are not able to camouflage.
The other schools in the area include West Broward High School, Chapel Trail Elementary School, Somerset Academy Chapel Trail Elementary School, Somerset Academy Charter School and the Montessori Academy of Broward.
- Avoid places or things that could serve as resting places for a snake and be mindful of where you put your hands and feet.
- Snakes do not prey on humans and will not chase you. The danger comes when they are cornered or surprised so give the snake space and don't try to kill it.
- If the snake bites, stay calm, get to a medical facility as soon as possible, wash the area with a disinfectant and remove jewelry. Try to get a good description of the snake's colors for medical staff. Do not take aspirin or pain relievers, and do not use pressure or a tourniquet.