Copperhead Bites

Posted by: billstephenson

Copperhead Bites - 06/02/10 10:57 PM

I heard there was something like nine people bitten by copperheads last week here in Taney County, Missouri. All of them survived, but they were still pretty hurt and shook up.

Two of them I know personally. One I saw last Saturday. He dates my "step-neice-in-law" and they came to see us down at the lake. His foot and ankle was all wrapped up and he was using crutches. He said his foot was swollen and blackened and pretty ugly. I took his work for it.

He stepped outside onto his back porch and was bitten immediately. Probably stepped on the snake.

The young woman that I know had parked her car and apparently run over one. It stayed under her car and bit her when she was getting back into it.

Both of those bites happened just after it nightfall.

I have never even seen a copperhead here, which is really odd since I'm outside so much. Maybe I repel them somehow wink I'm knocking on wood just in case I don't though frown

I have seen quite a few water moccasins already though, one was over five feet long.

And as a side note, I woke up to my dogs attacking a raccoon this morning. I think they decided to leave it alone though. I went out there and took a look at it, told them to be careful, and didn't hear anymore ruckus after that.

Anyway, it appears to be a pretty snakey year here, so be careful where you step if you visit the Ozarks.

Bill
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/02/10 11:16 PM

Copperheads are hard to see due to good camouflage and low light. Both my sister and I have been tagged by them. She was trying to catch one and it came around and got her hand....sent home from the hospital, no treatment, mildly envenomed. Said she felt like she on meth for two days. I was bitten on the thumbnail with no penetration, while holding the snake showing my kids.
So, as is said, the majority of snake bite victims in this country are "stupid people" messing with them. grin We grew up in the country and snakes...all snakes...were pets. I've got copperheads in the nature preserve but you have to look for them at night.
Posted by: AussieBushwalker

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/02/10 11:54 PM

Originally Posted By Dryer
...So, as is said, the majority of snake bite victims in this country are "stupid people" messing with them. grin

You're not alone, there are lots of stupid people down here as well.

Cheers,
Michael.
Posted by: phat

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/03/10 01:53 AM

Originally Posted By AussieBushwalker

You're not alone, there are lots of stupid people down here as well.


Yeah, I tried several times when I was down there to get bitten by some of them little black ones that scurry off the trails in front of you, but never managed to get stupid enough - or get a picture of the little guys.

The Tasmanian guy I was with suggested I eat the cubical "smart pills" that are left on the trails so that foreigners can not be so dumb and bitten by snakes and eaten by dropbears.. it must have worked.


Posted by: ringtail

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/03/10 11:21 AM

Is the punch line "See, you are getting smart already?"
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/03/10 11:21 AM

Quote:
cubical "smart pills"


We get cocoa puffs all over the yard this time of year. They aren't bad but need more sugar. grin
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/03/10 02:36 PM

So you don't have those up North then huh?

I have lots of those in the pasture where the burros spend all day eating, but I never knew what they were. They've always reminded me of "Shredded Wheat" though. I bet they're good in a bowl of milk.

If I start eating them now for breakfast I'll be smarter than phat in no time cuz he can't get them up there smile

Posted by: Kent W

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/03/10 09:26 PM

Copperhead bite will make you very sick and hurts. My Dad was in the Biology Dept at NIU for over 30 years. The study of Amphibians and Reptiles was his Life! He always told me. Even though copperheads are hard to see and there bite painfull, they will not kill you. However, the Cottonmouth water mocasin often feeds on already dead infected prey. The Bacteria in there bite is deadly as gang green infection sets in and the limb is lost and amputated or infection kills? Dad handled all sorts of snakes from all over the world. He always said all gods creatures have a purpose! He is right!
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/08/10 02:46 AM

I well remember copperheads from the 4 years we lived in Pennsylvania. They seemed to make a habit of living under porches. However, out here in the Pacific NW we have only rattlesnakes to worry about, and only east of the Cascades crest. At least rattlesnakes tell us when we're trespassing on their environment!
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/08/10 09:49 AM

We have the cutest little rattlesnakes you ever seen here. They're "Pygmy Rattlers", and the have a turned up snout. I've found two of those in our yard over the years. It was in Autumn, so it was cool out, and they weren't moving very fast. They're tiny, but just as venomous as their larger cousins. I relocated both of them to the forest down closer to the lake on public land.

We also have some bigger rattlers here too but I've never seen one.

Bill
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/08/10 02:21 PM

Quote:
They're "Pygmy Rattlers", and the have a turned up snout.


Those little guys get confused as hog-nosed snakes often. I know. I've done it. grin
They are very pretty little snakes, though.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/10/10 06:23 PM

I caught a copperhead when I was 16 in San Antonio. It was going across the parking lot. It was pretty stretched out when I grabbed the tail, so it came back at me really slow. I wanted to keep it as a pet. I am sure my mom would have killed me before the snake ever did, if I had actually brought it home. smile
Posted by: Kent W

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/10/10 10:16 PM

Typically, you should pin the head and grag close behind head. Steve Erwin the croc hunter ofter grabbed venmous snakes bye the tail. Made good tv but not the way to handle. My son Jordan was catching common water snakes in Mississipi backwaters bye the tail. One of them spun around a bit him in the arm. Good thing they are not venomous! He learned a lesson!
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/11/10 12:06 AM

My sister got tagged by grabbing one by the tail.
Once they turn and get a lock on you, they can strike just like they were on the ground...you are an easy target.
I treat venomous snakes like loaded guns....getting bit can be fatal or at least very expensive and painful. NOT something to mess around with. So, if you must handle the thing, use a noose stick and keep that sucker away from you! Otherwise, pin the head securely, and grab the snake in your FIST, RIGHT BEHIND it's head,...NOT with thumb and a finger or two.
I had to relocate a 4.5' timber rattler from my campsite and it would have easily gotten free had I not had a white knuckles grip on it. Snakes are like fish, all muscle, and stronger than they look.
Disclaimer...you are at your own risk if you mess with snakes and my instructions are what works for me.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/11/10 12:21 AM

I met this little guy Tuesday at about 6,500 feet, upper Little Yosemite Valley, on the Merced River.



He was right in the trail. Most people do not expect to see rattlers here. The last time I hiked this trail I also saw a rattler. A few years ago I also met a very big rattler coiled on the trail to Pleasant Valley (Rancheria Trail near Piute Creek in Hetch Hetchy area of yosemite) and had to throw rocks at it to get it to move. They are really sluggish when they first wake up early season. No way was I going to get close. Two other big rattlers were sunning on the bridge in Pate Valley, Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Everyone is concerned about bears in Yosemite, but there are tons of rattlers too.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/11/10 09:33 AM

I agree. When I got it, I pinned it with a car jack on the head, and grabbed it right behind the head. But, first I had to keep it from going under cars and finding a place where I would be able to get it, so I grabbed it by the tail expecting it to come back at me. But again, I was 16 smile .
Posted by: arcane

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/11/10 02:41 PM

Originally Posted By Dryer
I treat venomous snakes like loaded guns....getting bit can be fatal or at least very expensive and painful. NOT something to mess around with. So, if you must handle the thing, use a noose stick and keep that sucker away from you! Otherwise, pin the head securely, and grab the snake in your FIST, RIGHT BEHIND it's head,...NOT with thumb and a finger or two.
I had to relocate a 4.5' timber rattler from my campsite and it would have easily gotten free had I not had a white knuckles grip on it. Snakes are like fish, all mussel, and stronger than they look.
Disclaimer...you are at your own risk if you mess with snakes and my instructions are what works for me.


Are the rattlers in your neck of the woods aggressive? I'm surprized that you had to relocate it instead of it relocating on it's own. We have timber rattlers here too and I haven't came across one in the woods yet, but I know that if I keep backpacking/hiking long enough that I will eventually see one.

I have to admit that I'm quite afraid of the prospect of finding one sunny in the middle of a trail. (I could never imagine myself picking up a poisonous snake, but I greatly respect those who can. Especially when they are being relocated from a residential area to the forest!)
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/11/10 05:00 PM

Quote:
Are the rattlers in your neck of the woods aggressive? I'm surprized that you had to relocate it instead of it relocating on it's own.


Not really. The big female timber rattler found her way into my campsite twice after first herding her to a brush pile. The second time I pinned and carried her a 1/4 mile and turned her lose.
Had she been a diamondback, it wouldn't have been that easy.
Posted by: Kent W

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/11/10 05:06 PM

Timber rattle snakes are probally the most docile of rattlers eastern and western diamond backs are much more agressive in general. I wouldnt grag any bye the tail. avoid moving if possible. However behind the head pin is safest.
Posted by: gorge_medic

Re: Copperhead Bites - 06/22/10 08:42 PM

The few pygmy rattlers I've encountered are mean little cusses!
Posted by: Whiskeyguy

Re: Copperhead Bites - 07/26/10 04:50 AM

Originally Posted By Kent W
Timber rattle snakes are probally the most docile of rattlers eastern and western diamond backs are much more agressive in general. I wouldnt grag any bye the tail. avoid moving if possible. However behind the head pin is safest.


I agree. I live in Northern California, near the coast, and they're around here above 1,000 feet or so. My family owns a ranch that is between 2200 and 4500 feet in elevation and they're all over the place out there. I've stepped on them (by on I mean within two feet or actually on their bodies) 6 or so times. It wakes you up, but only once I've had one try to bite me... it got a hold of my boot sole pretty good.

I was taught to kill them on sight, and certainly to only pick them up to kill them. These days, however, I tend to leave them alone unless they are somewhere where they can cause a problem (campsite, or in the case of the ranch near the cabins where kids are). My uncle caught a rattler sauntering into the cabin in the middle of the day once, with 8 kids playing 15 feet away. Wouldn't be fun to find that between the bedsheets or in a cupboard.

One thing I didn't see posted is, at least for rattlers, the babies can be much more dangerous. They're smaller and harder to see, they don't have rattles or aren't very loud, and they don't understand how to control their venom yet, so they could give you a full dose (while adults often don't inject venom when striking in defense, or limit how much they inject because they understand they need it to survive).

I've hated snakes most of my childhood, but they don't bother me as much now. I guess everyone needs something to be unreasonably scared of (I stare in amazement when people flip out over everyday house spiders).