Local teen bitten by rattlesnake speaks out from hospital bed

Local teen bitten by rattlesnake speaks out from hospital bed
(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tonight a local teen bitten by a rattlesnake in her backyard is speaking out from her hospital bed.

Arizona Animal experts say peak rattlesnake season is typically April through November in Arizona.

The teenage girl was bitten by a baby rattler and reptile experts say now is the time of year when you'll see an increase in baby rattlesnakes. The danger with baby rattlers is that they are silent, and when they bite they will typically give you all their venom.

"The two puncture holes are right there," snake bite victim, 17-year-old Parker Fleetwood, said.

Fleetwood's right foot is bruised and severally swollen. She was taking the trash out on Thursday night, near the Oro Valley Country Club, when a rattlesnake bit her toe. She was home alone.

"I was so scared. I was frantically yelling, crying and calling my dad," Fleetwood said.

"It was just bad because nobody was there – and it's always bad when it's your kid, especially when it's your baby kid," Parker's father, Marc Fleetwood said.

Fleetwood called 911 and was rushed to the hospital as the venom spread up her leg.

"These two lines were from the paramedics which is where the swelling was starting and all of these are where it progressed," Fleetwood said as she pointed to the lines drawn on her legs.

Jeffery Carver, owner of Arizona Animal Experts, handles all 911 rattlesnake calls for the city of Tucson and works to remove and relocate the reptiles. He said now is the time of year when you need to be extra cautious and always have a flashlight at night.

"Especially when the weather starts getting cooler at night, that's when we really start getting the calls when the rattlesnakes are up near the house because the concrete on the porch and driveway heats up during the day," Carver said.

As for Fleetwood, she's now had four doses of anti-venom at Banner UMC. She told Tucson News Now she feels lucky and hopes to return home soon.

"Even though I can't really walk right now. I'm glad I'm still breathing and alive so I'm grateful for that," Fleetwood, said.

According to the Arizona Poison and Drug information Center in Tucson, in 2016 there were 97 rattlesnake bites reported in Pima County. So far this year, there have been 91 rattlesnake bites reported.

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