Skip to comments.North Carolina #1 for snake bites
Posted on 08/10/2010 7:17:54 AM PDT by JoeProBono
MT. HOLLY, NC - Folks living in North Carolina have a better chance of getting bitten by a snake than people living anywhere else, according to new research.
North Carolina's estimated rate of snake bites is nearly five times the national average.
The number one reason for the relatively high rate of bites is a snake found in every single North Carolina county -- the copperhead.
Copperheads are poisonous -- although snake experts say the better term is venomous -- and last year there were 228 reported bites in the state. The copperhead is found in Charlotte and all over the Charlotte area.
Grover Barfield, known as the Snakeman of Gaston County, offered us tips on avoiding getting bitten by a copperhead.
"I tell people, once it's 65, 70 degrees don't go outside barefooted. Don't wear flip flops, and watch where you put your hands and feet," said Barfield, who runs the Carolinas Reptile Rescue and Education Center.
Barfield says copperheads are most likely to be out and about from this time of the year until around October or November.
Barfield says he's been bitten twice by copperheads, and it wasn't fun. One time his hand swelled to the size of a softball. He says most hospitals carry antivenom for the bite, but it is very expensive.
Barfield showed WBTV two other venomous snakes found in our general area (to see them click on the video).
One is the timber rattlesnake, which is very rare but has been known to be in Mecklenburg and other counties in our area.
Another is the cottonmouth, which Barfield says is found in Lancaster, South Carolina, and Rockingham, North Carolina, as well as points east and south of both towns.
The cottonmouth is venomous, but Barfield says water snakes that are found in places like Lake Norman and Lake Wylie are not true cottonmouths and are not venomous.
A NINE-year-old cat has used up one of her lives after getting a venomous copperhead snake wrapped around her collar with her owners too afraid to untangle the serpent for fear of being bitten.
Owner Wendy Wallis said her cat Jelly wandered back in to their property, which borders Sorell Creek north of Hobart, about 11.30am yesterday carrying the snake with her.
She called wildlife rescuers who removed the snake.
The cat picture has completely freaked me out. If it was my kitty, I would have put on thick gloves and used tongs to get it off.
Rattle snakes will almost always warn you of their presence and that they are unhappy with your’s. Copperheads are silent.
I lived in NC for a few years and the very first time I mowed my lawn, I ran over a copperhead that I hadn’t seen with the mower. From then on, lawns were always mowed wearing long pants and boots. I saw dozens of copperheads over that two year period. Very beautiful snake...from a safe distance.
I think I would have removed the snake’s head with pruning shears.
Did the blades get it or was it low enough in the grass to sneak under?
Reptile rescue?Natural habitat?
If humans are going to live there the snakes' numbers have to be reduced;228 snakebites reported is entirely too many.
If these were 228 dogbite victims the various agencies would be demanding more authority to destroy the biter's breed or species.
Okay, was thinking of moving to Chapel Hill...maybe not??
Dang. That’s one “cool” cat. I spent many years working the African continent from Capetown to Cairo. The only snakes I ever saw were either dead, or in the process of being dead, assisted by angry villagers. The only time I ever had a problem with them was right here at home. Got bitten in my own front yard. Copperheads are a regular feature on our property. I’m finding way too many shed skins in the flower beds these days.
I heard it go through the blades and the mower lurched a bit. I was wearing tennis shoes and shorts at the time and the grass was very high as we had just moved in and it hadn’t been cut in some time. I went inside and changed before continuing.
I would have clipped the collar behind the cat's neck.
Separated at birth?
Really...? I was down there recently and saw neither? Am I missing something here?
I love that copperhead - I have two of their likenesses on display at home... which, of course makes me a suspected domestic terrorist.
Do it anyway.... just carry a big stick... or a shotgun.
If it were me the change would have had to include a fresh pair of undies. :)
Were it me, the changes would have been in zip code, area code, and tighty-whities.
The ophidiophobia here is very sad.
Nice poster - it would be cool to have one for the wall!
Poor 'journalism'....the term is "antivenin".
A friend of mine was bit by a Copperhead this past spring...looked out the door and saw his daughters puppy trying to “play” with the snake. He reached for the dog and it struck him in his hand....spent 4 days in the hospital.
Yeah, it’s crazy..sissies should just leave snakes the hell alone..people are generally out of their minds with unreasoning fear..
A Marine Colonel, C.O. of an A-6 squadron at MCAS Cherry Point NC, got struck by one in is garage one Sunday morning. It ticked him off, so he went into the house to get a handgun and kill it. In the mean time it had repositioned and struck him again in the same leg as he reentered his garage. He almost lost his leg due to the venom-caused necrosis around the wounds.
Moral of the story: Don’t mess with copperhead snakes, and maintain a visual on them at all times when you know they’re one in the area.
I once had one in my carport and almost stepped on it, it didn’t move, ran around to the front door to get my husband and by then it had moved to the back door. They don’t scare and they will go after you! I watch where I walk, especially at night.
We just got back from taking the dog swimming and scooted out of there once it got dark, there is a copper head that hangs out on the bank.
I’ve had a lot of close calls with snakes and tend to give them the benefit of the doubt most of the time. There have been so many times they could have struck me and didn’t that it seems their attitude is really centered on defense and self-preservation.
But they do provoke easily, and you certainly can’t tolerate them around kids and animals.
We went to play tennis one afternoon and a copperhead had staked out the tennis court to get some warmth. When we tried to sweep it off the court, it became very aggressive. I was pretty much forced to kill it, if we were going to get to hit some tennis balls.
We lived across the street from a major river, lots of trees and a golf course. It was snake country.
I don’t freak out on snakes. We have a Ball Python as a pet, can’t say that I love it but it doesn’t bother me. We’ve also had non poisonous snakes around the house, fine with me, they eat rodents, but Copperheads, are another story. We have lots of woods behind my house, my dogs LOVE the woods, a Copperhead bite would kill them.
“I would have put on thick gloves and used tongs to get it off.”
A couple of weeks ago my next-door neighbor used a shovel to kill a copperhead that had gotten itself wedged into a tight spot between some garden edging and the house foundation.
His wife used a pair of kitchen tongs to pull it out.
Maybe, maybe not. I’ve know many dogs that survived bites to the nose (the typical presentation) by rattlesnakes. They suffered a lot of pain though.
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