Rattlesnake spotted surfing New Smyrna Beach waves

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Some Volusia County beachgoers don't like the idea of sharing the sand with snakes.

County officials said reports of snake sightings have increased over the past week.

Some people snapped photos of a rattlesnake slithering dangerously close to an area that is often packed with beachgoers.

They said the snakes become more active in the cooler temperatures and the dunes along the beach are a natural habitat for rattlers.

Experts said they are not usually seen because they try to avoid people. A beach safety officer carefully nudged the rattlesnake across the sand.

Valeh Levy shot video Friday New Smyrna Beach but said her son was one of the first surfers to spot the snake in the waves.

"My son came running up toward my minivan and he said, 'Mommy, you're not going to believe this but there's a rattlesnake in the surf,'" Levy said.

Witnesses estimate it was 4-5 feet long and came onto the beach from the ocean. Levy said her son described how surfers tried to avoid the snake swimming right by them.

"He said the coolest part was that the snake raised half of its body up and looked out towards the surf and a wave was coming and the snake turned towards the beach and kind of let the wave bump it on in," Levy said.

Experts said it isn't common to see a rattlesnake in the ocean, but Smyrna Dunes Park near where the one was spotted is a natural habitat for them where they eat rats, small rabbits, and even baby raccoons.

Rattlers have been known to strike at and bite people.

Experts said rattlesnake bites are rare and the one spotted was not aggressive and was only trying to go back to the dunes, its home.

"It was trying to avoid anyone. If people came close to it, it went the other way," Levy said.

Experts believe the rattlesnake may have been swept out to sea from Ponce Inlet.