Published June 18, 2013
A Florida boy is back on his feet after spending two weeks in the hospital recovering from a snakebite, an he is now contemplating what to do with the serpent's skin.
Eleven-year-old Benjamin Smith of Newberry received what doctors said may be a record 80 vials of antivenin at University of Florida Health Shands Hospital for a bite on his right leg from a five-foot long eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
“He is pretty much back to normal,” the boy's mother, Heather Smith, told FoxNews.com. “Now he just needs to go for physical therapy on his leg.”
Benjamin was running through a wooded area at a friend’s birthday party when he felt the sharp pain of the snakebite. He was taken to the emergency room at Shands, where the community quickly rallied to his side.
“We have had a huge outpouring of prayers,” Smith said. “The community has been extremely supportive.”
Benjamin even received a basketball autographed by members of the University of Florida men's basketball team, which he proudly showed off from his hospital bed before being discharged.
According to National Geographic, The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in North America. They can reach up to eight feet in length and weigh up to 10 pounds. Its venom is a powerful hemotoxin that kills red blood cells and causes tissue damage. Bites can potentially be fatal in humans.
Smith praised the hospital’s pediatric unit for saving her son's life.
“We were very fortunate to have them in our community,” she said. “They were amazing.”
After the attack, Ben's friend - the birthday boy - and his father hunted down the five-foot snake and killed it. They gave it to Ben, who is keeping it as a memento.
“Ben wanted to make a wallet, but has been told by the taxidermist that it would not hold up well,” Smith said. “We are having the snake skin preserved and Ben will decide later how to display it or if he wants to make something with the skin.”