Snakebite Victim: Rattlesnake 'Went 'Tssss' With Its Tail'

Eastland County boy recovering from snake bite at school

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Texas state trooper on Monday captured a rattlesnake at an Eastland elementary school -- four days after it bit a second-grader.

    The boy, 8-year-old Edwin Garcia, was released from a Fort Worth hospital on Saturday and is now at home recovering.

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    Garcia said he was reaching in a cabinet for a towel when the venomous snake appeared out of nowhere and attacked his right hand.

    "It bit me," he said. "It went 'tssss' with its tail."

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    The school, Siebert Elementary, was closed while police, animal experts and volunteers searched for the reptile.

    The school won't reopen until after the Thanksgiving holiday. Students are attending classes at a nearby church.

    Cpl. Tim Pitts of the Texas Highway Patrol said finding the snake was difficult.

    "He was down underneath the floor of the cabinet, so there would've been no way to find him without ripping the cabinet up," he said. "We wanted to make sure it was there, that we could find it and get it out of there. If it wasn't there, we'd have done a thorough search to set everybody's mind at ease."

    Edwin's mother, Karla Garcia, said administrators knew for weeks there was a snake problem at the school.

    "They should have done something from the very beginning," she said. "I myself said something when I first found out that they were finding snakes. I said, 'Oh my God, what if somebody gets bit? A child?' And here it goes -- mine. Mine was the one who got bit."

    Principal Mary Jones said administrators don't believe there are any more snakes in the school.

    "We absolutely don't expect to find anything else, and we hope that we don't," she said. "We think this is an isolated incident."

    Assistant Superintendent Rebecca Hallmark said the school is surrounded by woods. She speculated that this year's drought could have pushed snakes into the school to search for food.

    "We never had them in the building [before]," she said. "The elementary school has a lot of natural habitat around."

    Edwin's arm is in a sling at least until a follow-up doctor's visit next week.

    His mother said he is doing well, but she is keeping out of school because he is too afraid another snake will attack him.

    "They're bad," he said. "They'll kill you."