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Pygmy Rattlesnake bites on the rise across Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY - At first, Letia Skinner says she didn't know what was wrong with her 16-month-old son.

"I sat down to rock him and it was like, check him for a snake bite, it just clicked. I look down and I, like, flipped out. Ran to the kitchen, grabbed my cell phone, called 911," Skinner said.

The toddler had been bitten on the right foot by a Pygmy Rattlesnake.

The little boy was rushed to a hospital and given anti venom, but his condition continued to worsen.

By the time he reached Integris, he had been given 22 vials of anti venom.

Integris Pediatric Intensive Care specialist, Dr. Bill Banner treated the boy. He says the toddler's blood was not clotting, so the smallest injury could be dire.

"A small bump, just a little cut would not stop bleeding because he had no clotting stuff," Dr. Banner said.

Banner knew he had to think outside the box.

"I dealt with the black mamba, and the cobras and unusual zoo snakes like that, so we knew that they had anti venom," Banner said.

At that point, he says he reached out to the Oklahoma City Zoo for help.

The zoo gave the hospital some of its anti venom that had shown promise against the Pygmy Rattler's venom, a snake whose bites have risen four fold in Oklahoma this year.

The toddler's condition began to improve right away.

Now, he's on the road to a full recovery.

Blake's grateful mother wants other parents to be on the lookout for dangerous snakes.

"I never would have thought, I mean, I should have thought, they found a snake. I should have thought, but I didn't," Skinner said.

The reptile specialists at the Oklahoma City Zoo say heavy rains have caused an increase in the number of frogs and toads, which are the main source of food for the Pygmy Rattlesnake.

The public is encouraged to visit the Oklahoma City Zoo's Reptile Exhibit to learn more about our state's seven different species of venomous snakes.

Experts are on hand to answer questions about how to spot them, and how to treat bites.