Last year the Carolina Poison Center reported a total of 81 snake bite calls coming from Mecklenburg County – almost twice as many as they received in 2018.
The majority of the calls were for copperhead bites, made by medical professionals seeking specific anti-venom dosing and treatment advice. 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.
The Charlotte region has a total of 37 snake species, most of which are harmless, but due to our overly warm winter, snakes of all kinds are now more active than ever.
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.