Man bit by five and a half foot rattlesnake after he thought it was dead

- Polk County Fire Rescue treated a man in Bartow after he was bitten by a five and a half foot rattlesnake.

Jerome Roddenberry was bitten on Sunday, April 9th. Things quickly become bad, as after about 10 steps, he was not able to move. Approximately 30 seconds later, he blacked out and could not remember anything until finally waking up in the hospital.

“I have no memory of my first helicopter ride,” Roddenberry told firefighters.

Polk County Fire Rescue crews were dispatched to the River Ranch hunting grounds around 6:30 p.m. Fire rescue crews were told someone shot the snake in the midsection and Roddenberry thought it was dead. However, when he decided to pick it up, the snake bit him on his hand.

Upon arrival, fire rescue crews discovered that Roddenberry needed advanced medical care. He was quickly airlifted to Osceola Regional Medical Center so that antivenin could be administered. He received 32 vials of antivenin at the hospital.

“I’m lucky to be alive,” Roddeberry stated. He went on to tell the Polk County Fire Rescue members, “You saved my life. You kept me going until I got to the hospital.”

Roddenberry is now out of the hospital and recovering well. 

Video taken during the reunion is posted on the Polk County Fire Rescue Facebook page.
If you are interested in learning more about treating snakebites, envenomation care will be explored at the Polk County Fire Rescue’s EMS Symposium on Tuesday, May 23. Registration is free. Visit to register.

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