Details are emerging on Sunday about a Jamul family's ordeal after a 2-year-old boy was bitten by a rattlesnake.
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Jack Mooers and his wife, who is a herpetologist, have lived in Jamul for nearly 40 years and have seen many snakes. They say the boy's family moved in next door to them about two weeks ago.
Mooers told 10News the 2-year-old's mother took the child and his 4-year-old brother outside where the two were playing with pine cones.
He said the 4-year-old pointed out a snake and believes the 2-year-old leaned over to get a closer look at the snake when he was bitten on the inside of the elbow.
10News was told the family did not want to wait for an ambulance and rushed off in their SUV to find help.
"Todd [the boy's father] got in his car, got down to San Felipo's and the left front tire exploded and shredded and now he's stranded," said Mooers.
The family was outside Fire Station 36 in Jamul and was told to wait for emergency crews to return. Instead, they kept on driving on the busted tire until the car came to a complete stop.
Emergency crews rushed the child to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa. When he was stabilized, the boy was transported to Rady Children's Hospital, where he was still receiving treatment as of Sunday afternoon.
"They said during the night, his lips were turning blue," Mooers said. "He was not getting the proper circulation and the blood apparently was coagulating."
Rady Children's Hospital confirmed this was one of two snakebite cases they saw in one day.
The California Department of Fish and Game said this is just the start of snake season and that snakes usually only bite if provoked. According to CalPoison's website, more than 800 cases are reported annually.
Rattlesnakes are some of the most dangerous snakes in the world, especially to children. Mooers said they have a distinct sound.
"When a snake rattles, they don't rattle like a bell. It sounds like bacon frying," he said.
Mooers said they did not catch that particular snake. He said he and his wife later saw a four-foot rattlesnake in their driveway and killed it. Killing the snake, however, can be dangerous because a snake can still bite after it is killed because of a reflex.
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