Winter Park man recovering after bite from pet viper

Friends of a man who was bitten by a venomous snake in his Winter Park home say he is still in the hospital recovering but is doing okay.   "This morning, Bob called me and sounded normal," says Walter Hurst, whose friend, Bob Smith, was bitten by a Gaboon viper.

Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissoin released a picture of the 20-inch snake, which they say has enough venom in one bite to kill two people.  Hurst says, "He picked the snake up on some tongs and the snake got loose, and he dropped it, and it fell on his hand and just nicked him." Hurst explained that Smith was cleaning the cage at the time. 

Smith called 911 at around 5 o'clock on Thursday evening.  "I got bit by a Gaboon viper," he told the dispatcher.  "You got bit by a?" the dispatcher responds. "Poisonous snake, yes," Smith replied.  David Tetzlaff , director of the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens says, "We were able to meet the paramedics at a front gate, when then rushed the antivenin down to the hospital to serve the gentleman." 

Investigators say Smith has a permit for the female snake, as well as many others inside the home. FWC spokesman Steve McDaniel says, "It looks like it's a simple keeper mishap."

While Walter is relieved that his friend is ok, he wonders what will happen next.  "Why he likes these venomous snakes, I don't know. I don't know.  I use to have these venomous snakes when I was younger, but I got old and don't mess with them anymore." He says Smith will be in the hospital for seven more days.