Mecklenburg County Was Just Ranked #2 For Venomous Snake Bites

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The Carolinas Poison Center just released new data showing that Mecklenburg County is the #2 county in the state for snake bites.

According to The Charlotte Observer, Mecklenburg County has reported a total of 60 venomous snake bites since March 1st of this year. During that same time, Wake County reported 82 (making them the #1 county in the state).

The data also reveals that Mecklenburg County has a drastically higher number of venomous bites than surrounding rural counties, with Catawba County reporting 11; Cleveland and Davidson counties with 9 each; Cabarrus and Iredell counties with 7 each; and Burke, Union and Stanly counties with 6 each.

Experts say our recently mild winter is to blame for the increase in snakes, and increased development and population in Mecklenburg account for the significantly higher number of bites, compared to rural counties.

The Charlotte region’s most prevalent venomous snake is the copperhead, but North Carolina is also home to cottonmouths, rattlesnakes (eastern diamondback, pygmy and timber) and coral snakes.

Copperhead in Charlotte
Copperhead in Charlotte

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

The Carolina Poison Center also recommends 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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