A woman has been accused of cruelty toward a child after she put a snake in front of a 1-year-old girl and let it bite the child, Highlands County sheriff's deputies said.
According to a charging affidavit, Chartelle Geanette St. Laurent, 34, said she grew up catching and interacting with snakes and other reptiles as she was growing up. She said she had seen poisonous snakes on her property before, so she decided to expose the child to a snake.
She caught a 14-inch, non-venomous red rat snake in a Tupperware container and put it in front of the child.
A video shows St. Laurent holding the snake in front of the child, who reached for it. The snake bit the child on the right thumb, and St. Laurent can be heard laughing while the child is crying.
When questioned about her laughter, St. Laurent said she was just surprised that the snake had bitten her, the affidavit said.
The child was not injured by the bite.
St. Laurent said she had allowed the snake to bite her first to make sure the snake would not injure the child.
The affidavit will be forwarded to the State Attorney's Office, who will decide whether charges will be filed.
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