Two copperhead snake bites in one week

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A warning about copperhead snakes. In one week's time, the venomous reptile has sunk its fangs into a child and a dog in two separate cases.

A copperhead bit a young girl on Walbrook Drive in Henrico's West End. A dog was bitten off Turner Road in Chesterfield.

Snakes like cool moist areas with easy access to the sunlight. For example, areas in the yard with a lot of ground cover, like ivy, would be a perfect habitat. If a copperhead bites you or your dog, the quicker you get to the emergency room or a vet the better.

Copperheads are the only poisonous snakes in our area. A danger every day, but wet weather can trigger sightings.

Paige Shriver's American bulldog Oz is being nursed back to health after a copperhead bit his back paw Saturday night.

"I really didn't have any idea he was bitten until his foot swelled up," said Shriver.

Oz was in Shriver's backyard. She wanted to warn other dog owners.

"My yard where the dogs go out is not wooded and the grass is kept short. There's no bushes trees or debris," said Shriver.

This is the second copperhead bite in a week.

On August 6 near Pump and Patterson, a 12-year-old girl got too close to a copperhead hiding underneath magnolia leaves in a neighbor's driveway and was bitten on her foot. She's now on antibiotics after an emergency room visit.

Dr. Ken Lucas with Patient First says a copperhead bite is not a life or death situation, but the sooner the better for treatment.

"The problem is it injects a venom that can create some muscle damage and the longer it's there the greater the chance for it to spread," said Dr.Lucas.

Dr. Lucas says what you don't want to do is apply a tourniquet, ice or suck out the venom.

"None of that has shown to be helpful and some has shown to be harmful. Stay calm wash with mild soap and water, and head to emergency room," said Dr. Lucas.

Although not typically lethal to humans, a copperhead bite can be for a pet.

"He's going to make it and hopefully he'll keep his foot," said Shriver.

Henrico Animal Control officials say they get calls about snakes on a daily basis, but not too many about copperheads. They recommend keeping your distance. These reptiles bite when they feel threatened.

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