Florida man is a survivor

Published 10:23 am Friday, August 26, 2016

LAKELAND, Fla. — Kyle Cook can’t decide whether he’s really unlucky or incredibly fortunate.

Over the past four years, the 31-year-old Florida man has survived a lightning strike, a bite by a venomous spider and — most recently — an attack by a rattlesnake in his backyard in Lakeland, southwest of Orlando.

“I need to get a (protective) bubble,” Cook told The Ledger.

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His father, Mike Cook, sees it another way. “He’s a walking Murphy’s law,” the elder Cook said. “I walk on the other side of the mall.”

On Aug. 11, the younger Cook was almost finished cutting the grass at his family’s rented house when he heard a loud rattling sound. First he thought it was the buzzing of cicadas. Then, he thought the push mower might be making the noise so he shut it off. That’s when he saw the snake coiled about 3 feet from his right foot. He estimated it was about 5 feet long and had a girth the size of a soda can.

After briefly freezing in fear, Cook said he moved his left foot back and stepped on a stick. The noise apparently provoked the snake, which struck his ankle.

He says it happened fast. “I didn’t even see it bite me,” Cook said. “I just screamed and ran to my wife.”