TAMPA, Fla. - Now more than ever, animal trappers say they're getting calls for venomous snakes.
According to Weldon Wildlife Removal, they typically average about one call a month for a venomous snake, but in the last six months they said they're getting as many as two calls a week for venomous snakes.
It comes after dog owners in Brooksville said their two dogs were bitten by a rattlesnake over the weekend. One of them died and the other survived. They're now warning other dog owners to be on the lookout for venomous snakes.
"It is very dangerous. The guys that we have, have been doing this for years. They're very well trained and they're very careful in what they do. They know where to put their hands, but yet collecting them is the most difficult part of the job," Jeff Weldon, the owner of Weldon Wildlife Removal, said.
He said cold weather and construction booming across the area are forcing snakes to move about more, searching for warmth – and where there's warmth there's likely people.
"They’re going into residential areas where their food source is. There's no forest left in Pinellas County. It’s so densely populated that there's no there's no woods left to have a habitat for these animals, so they’re popping up more and more in backyards," Weldon said.
If you come in contact with a rattlesnake, Weldon said carefully back away from the snake. If you get bit by one, immediately go to the hospital to get anti-venom.
"It's a one big muscle. They can strike up to a third of their body length, so if you have a six-foot snake, you don't have to be that close to it," Weldon said.