Homeless man tells Jax Beach PD God compelled him to save diamondback rattlesnake

Jacksonville, FL — A diamondback rattlesnake was captured by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after a known homeless man was walking around with it in downtown Jacksonville Beach this morning.

“He apparently sometime this morning found the snake and was walking around our downtown area with it, prompting several calls from concerned citizens”, said Sgt. Larry Smith with Jax Beach Police.

The homeless man claimed to be familiar with how to properly handle snakes, and was not bitten or injured in any way.

“Sounded like he may have been doing a little show and tell down there with the snake”, said Sgt. Smith.

Police received at least three complaints about the man carrying the snake, including from a City employee who was able flag down officers.  They caught up with him near the Best Western Hotel.

Officers told the man to put the snake into the back seat of the patrol vehicle until FWC could arrive.

“He says that he found it and God compelled him to keep him safe from traffic”, said Sgt. Smith.

The homeless man was not taken into custody and is not facing any charges, according to police.

The FWC says the snake has been released in a wooded area in Duval County, away from people.

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