Baby Copperheads Are Now Emerging – Here’s Why You Should Be On The Alert

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If you’ve lived in North Carolina during the summer months, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the copperhead and its deadly venom, but what you may not have heard is that baby copperheads can often be the most dangerous.

While copperhead offspring have smaller venom glands, smaller fangs, and a smaller amount of venom in their bodies, they have been known to completely empty their venom glands when striking in defense. When adults bite, they’re careful to release a specific amount of venom according to what it is attacking in a process called venom metering, but juveniles often don’t yet have as much control – especially when scared.

As we enter the later half of summer, these juveniles are beginning to emerge all across our state. According to the NC Wildlife Commission, copperheads can produce up to 18 snakes per litter during the middle to end of summer.

If you do a lot of walking or hiking around the Charlotte region, it’s recommended that you carry a snake bite kit and/or venom extractor in your backpack or car.

The Carolina Poison Center also suggests that:

If bitten by a snake, you SHOULD:

  • Sit down and stay calm.
  • Gently wash the area with warm, soapy water.
  • Remove any jewelry or tight clothing near the bite site.
  • Keep the bitten area still, if possible, and raise it to heart level.
  • Call the Carolinas Poison Center:  1-800-222-1222.

If bitten by a snake, you SHOULD NOT:

  • Ice the area.  Icing causes additional tissue damage.
  • Make and apply a tourniquet or any tight bandage.  It’s better for the venom to flow through the body than for it to stay in one area.
  • Attempt to catch or kill the snake.

If a snakebite victim is having chest pain, difficulty breathing, face swelling, or has lost consciousness, call 911 immediately.

Call Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for questions about a snake bite or for more information.

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