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Floral Park man recovering after rattler bite

The Floral Park man who was bitten on the hand by his pet diamondback rattlesnake was in good condition at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, a hospital spokeswoman said Friday.

"But I can't tell you when he will be discharged," spokeswoman Barbara DeIorio said.

Robert Lantier, 31, was bitten in his Oak Street home late Thursday morning. He was taken to the Bronx hospital for treatment.

Animal control officers from the Suffolk SPCA and the state Department of Environmental Conservation took several reptiles - in large containers secured with duct tape - from Lantier's home Thursday.

Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said the seized reptiles included a cobra, two baby eyelash vipers, a bamboo viper, an albino diamondback rattlesnake and a 3-foot crocodile monitor, among the world's largest lizards.

Gross said the reptiles have been relocated to an out-of-state facility where they will live under the care of herpetologists. Gross would not divulge the name of the facility but said the Suffolk SPCA has worked with the facility in the past.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Lantier has not been fined or given a summons.

State law says owners of poisonous snakes must have a license. The spokeswoman said the investigation is continuing.

Jacobi's Dr. Michael Touger, who runs the region's snake bite treatment unit at the hospital, said the bite was treated with the antivenin Crofab.

The hospital's snakebite program began in the '80s as a partnership with the Bronx Zoo in case anyone there was bitten. Jacobi treats about five or six snake poisonings a year, usually hikers or berry pickers, and consults on 20 to 30 other poisonings, Touger said.

Victims who aren't treated can die from a bleeding stroke, Touger said.

With Matthew Chayes

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