JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was a somber day in Baker County for the family of a 4-year-old boy laid to rest after dying from a rattlesnake bite.
Braydon Bullard died Friday, days after being bitten near his family's Bryceville home.
"It's been terrible," said Joyce Fouraker, who was one of many family and friends to attend the funeral. "You have to just be careful, and even being careful, things happen."
The outpouring of support for Braydon's family has been tremendous.
"It's devastating for us," said Liz Horne, Columbia County supervisor of elections. "We cried all weekend."
Brayden's family lives on rural property where they've seen numerous rattlesnakes.
Many families in the Baker and Nassau counties area say snakes are common and they often hide in small places like in stacks of wood, under boards or in tall grass.
There have been several other stories recently of bad snake bites, like one of a Putnam County man who went into a coma from a diamondback rattlesnake bite last month. He needed 50 vials of antivenin to survive.
But it's Brayden's death that has hit parents hearing the news as hard as any story.
"Just cherish them, love them and take every precaution you can to love them," said Chris Mann. "Because I live in the country; really watch out in the yards, snakes could be lurking in the yards."
Employees at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens say there are only four types of snakes you'll find in the northeast Florida area that are a danger, and all residents can do is limit places they can hide on their property.
"For the most part, keeping lawn low and knowing that snakes move in and out of heat to regulate temperature," zoo worker Dan Maloney said. "So if you've got wood piled up or rocks piled up, boards laying, those are all places snakes will take advantage of for shade."
When determining if a snake is dangerous, look for rattlers on their tail or larger heads. But it's not an exact science because there are so many types of snakes.
Zoo workers say residents should educate themselves about what dangerous snakes in the area look like.
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