LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - A Lee County family is counting their blessings after their little girl was bitten by a rattlesnake in their yard on Sunday.
She had to be air-lifted to the children's hospital in Birmingham for treatment. She is expected to make a full recovery and return home from the hospital Tuesday night.
Her father spoke with News Leader 9 about her ordeal, and has a warning for all parents.
Despite being in immense pain, 7-year-old Allera Cate is still smiling from her hospital bed. She was playing outside her Marvin Community home Sunday when disaster struck in the form of a rattlesnake.
"She came running into the house saying there was a snake outside," said her father William Dupree. "She lifted up her leg and said 'it bit me."
The family rushed Allera Cate to EAMC, where doctors administered anti-venom, then flew the first grader to Children's in Birmingham.
Her recovery has been difficult.
"It's been pretty tough on us, but we made it and this is going to make us stronger," William said.
The family believes she was bitten by a pigmy rattlesnake, one of six venomous snakes known to frequent Alabama and Georgia.
"A young child with a large rattle snake is not a good combination," said wildlife expert Dr. Jim Armstrong from Auburn University.
Families need to remove wood and debris piles from their yards as they attract rodents for snakes to feed on and provide cover.
Since we posted Allera's story on social media, hundreds of you have posted your well wishes to the family.
"It is humbling, know people who don't even know us are praying for us," William said. "With all that is going on in this world, you come to realize there are a lot of good people in this world."
As for Allera Cate, her parents say she's been a trooper, and her hospital stay has inspired a dream for her future.
"She said mom, when I grow up I want to be a nurse so I can help people."
Dr. Armstrong can't say for sure if more snake bites are occurring. He does believe we hear more about them because of social media and he says that's a good thing.
Allera Cate hopes to be back at school very soon, and we wish her a speedy recovery.