Snakebite season has now arrived in the Charlotte region, and as more land is developed, and more people move to our region, the number of poisonous snake encounters and bites is only expected to increase.
Last year, Mecklenburg County was ranked 2nd in the state for poisonous snake bites, with over 100 reported to the Carolina Poison Center over the summer months.
A few days ago, Kelly Cuene stumbled on this highly-venomous copperhead slithering across her grass;
Dear internet: what kind of #snake is this? pic.twitter.com/S5XsR5AhJx
— Kelly Cuene (@kellycuene) July 18, 2018
Fortunately, she was able to get away unscathed, but many around the Charlotte region aren’t so fortunate.
Just this past Wednesday afternoon, a 13-year-old girl was hospitalized after being bit by a copper head in South Charlotte;
#NEW A 13 year old girl is recovering in the hospital after a bite from a copperhead snake. It happened yesterday afternoon along Little Sugar Creek in South Charlotte. Family tells me she is expected to be ok. @FOX46News pic.twitter.com/nxvmnmZYw4
— Brett Baldeck (@BrettFOX46) July 19, 2018
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.
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.