Slithering into Summer
It is that time of the year again. The snakes are out of hibernation and sightings at home and posts on Facebook are on the rise.
There are many types of snakes slithering around our homes here in Charlotte. We have several non-venomous snakes but a few Venomous species to be aware of. Most people are aware of Copperheads but there are Cottonmouth (Water Moccasins) and several types of Rattlesnakes out there. As much as they scare some, snakes are not all bad. They help by snacking on other snakes and rodents, keeping them from moving into our homes. But, Unfortunately, North Carolina has the dubious honor of the greatest number of reported snakebites in the United States.
Are there any hints to tell if a snake is Venomous or not?
Venomous snakes usually have:
- Triangular, diamond-shaped heads.
- Slit-like pupils
- Long, moveable fangs
- Pits or shallow indentations underneath their eyes
Non-Venomous snakes tend to have:
- Smooth head
- Round pupils
- No fangs
- No pits
What do Copperheads look like?
Adults are typically 2-4 feet in length and there are a light tan to light brown with a alternating pattern of a hourglass-like appearance. As June approaches, many females will give birth and this is when he will see more baby copperheads.
Copperhead snakes are generally not aggressive towards humans. Most Copperhead bites occur when we enter their territory and surprise them, making them feel threatened. Bites commonly occur when we try to kill the snake. The snakes natural instinct is too remain motionless until the threat moves on.
How to avoid Copperheads?
You may see them slithering through your grass, across the street or across sidewalks. However, as the temperature increases, they make seek shade in your garage, brush, mulch and woodpiles.
In order to avoid a close encounter, you should be on the lookout as you walk through your lawn, do yard work or get near an object that may be hiding place such as a wood pile, stone wall, compost pile or another cool shady spot.
What should you do if bitten?
- Get away from the area. There is no need to risk another bite by trying to catch or kill the snake.
- Stay as calm as possible.
- Immobilize the area in a comfortable position and raise it to the level of the heart.
- Go to the closest Emergency room. Call 911 or have someone drive you there.
- Do not place a tourniquet or try to suck the venom out. If you are far away from a hospital, you can place a snug constriction band with some clothing or rope just above the bite. It should be snug but loose enough to slip a finger underneath. It should not be as tight as a tourniquet that cuts off the blood flow of an artery.
You can call the Carolinas Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for more information.
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