A young Valley Center boy was bitten by a rattler on Tuesday afternoon, an official confirmed to NBC 7.
The 9-year-old, who was about to get in a vehicle and go to baseball practice, was bitten just above his sock as he stood in his driveway in the 12000 block of Mesa Verde Drive, according to Chief Joe Napier of the Valley Center Fire Protection District.
Napier told NBC 7 on Wednesday that the child was taken to Rady Children's Hospital after he was bitten by a baby Southern Pacific rattlesnake. The chief said the snake was small and dark, and the boy just didn't see it.
While it's not yet known how the boy is doing, Napier did say that the child "was not in a lot of pain" after he was bitten.
"If he was, he was hiding it very well," Napier said.
"His parents were pretty calm" as well, the chief said, adding that the boy's mom rode with him to Rady's in the Mercy Air helicopter.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Napier said, it's not worse to be bitten by a baby rattler.
"Larger snakes will deliver a larger dose of venom," Napier said, passing on knowledge he acquired from Dr. Roy Johmson, a Valley Center expert whom Napier said was "widely regarded as the snake doctor" and often gets called into Palomar Medical Center for special cases involving snake bites.
"More venom, more dangerous the outcome becomes and the more treatment that has to be given out at the hospital," Napier said.
Napier offered another bit of herpetological advice: Snakes "are out now because of the warm spring weather, and if you have a garden or you're out at night, you should expect them to be out. Shake the bushes before you reach in to pick vegetables" is a way to help prevent getting bitten, Napier said.