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Be on lookout for slithering snakes

Posted May 28, 2009

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— The Carolinas Poison Center, headquartered in Charlotte, has reported a 75 percent increase in snake bites this year in North Carolina.

Snake encounters on the rise Snake encounters on the rise

In April and May of last year, center officials said 102 snake bites were reported. This year, 179 bites have been reported.

Experts say one reason snake sightings could be on the rise is construction, which can steer them away from their natural habitat.

“These guys don’t know where to go and they’re going to nestle up somewhere,” homeowner Dave Slezak said.

Slezak saw a venomous Copperhead snake in his Durham backyard.

“I don’t know what will happen if you step on them. I’ve run the thing over with a lawnmower … and it didn’t faze him. He just slithered away a little bit,” Slezak said.

Though rarely fatal, Copperhead bites are severe and need immediate medical attention. Experts say Copperheads aren't normally aggressive, but should still be avoided. They are easily mistaken for non-venomous snakes, and are found across the state.

Bob Jankowski, an animal removal specialist with Critter Control, was on a routine call in Chapel Hill when he spotted a copperhead inches away from him.

“Everyone wants to live with nature, but no one really wants to live with nature. In other words, in their house or on their property,” he said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more information on treating and preventing venomous snake bites.


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  • streetfightinman May 29, 2009

    When I read the heading of this article,I thought it was about
    THE EASLEY'S haaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaa.

  • jsrewolf May 29, 2009

    I killed a copperhead this past Sunday mowing my front yard. I was using a big wheel trimmer. I went to move some planters, and I'm glad I did so after I mowed not before. The snake wasn't dead but was fatally injured - died hours later. He was still aggressive though so I left him there till he died. He was about 1.5 ft.

    A couple of weeks ago I scared off a King snake, about 5 ft long, he ate a couple of baby Phoebe birds on my porch. He came back and I had to scare him off again. He was very aggressive and put up a good fight.

  • jprime May 29, 2009

    Bites from non venomous snakes are still very painful, and carry the risks of severe infections. Better to just be mindful of your surroundings.

  • busyb97 May 28, 2009

    I'm sorry...I'd never mistake a snake as non-venomous. Now, I'd likely mistake it as VENOMOUS before I'd say non. I'd rather not encounter them either way.

    And why would they be coming out THIS year 'due to construction sites'? I thought building was way down compared to past years? That theory doesn't jive to me given the economy of construction these days. But I'll give them points for trying (ha!)

  • BlueSkys May 28, 2009


  • southpaw May 28, 2009

    Watch out in the Falls Lake area. Last year we saw a snake (on the road toward the marina) at Rolling View not too far from the entrance booth. Without exaggeration this reptile was at least five feet in length and 2 1/2- 3 inches in diameter. It could have been a black racer but didn't want to get too close. We are able to verify it by pictures we took. We've also saw another dark colored snake with a white belly on a log also at Rolling View. Again, we took pictures. This time this snake was by the water not too far from the swimming area. This year we were walking at Sandling Beach. There was a stagnant pool of water close by where I was taking pictures of the trees. We heard a noise in the water and saw a snake with something in its mouth. This snake was redish brown with a zig-zag pattern on its back. We have one picture. Could this be a water moccasin? We are not sure but it looked like the snake(which was I.D.ed) we saw at "Forever Florida" last summer, except smaller.

  • Piny tek May 28, 2009

    Reading all of these gives me goose bumps, I don't think there's anything out there that scares me than a snake. I've seen people freaking out because of spiders but that slow moving creature don't bother me.

  • oldfirehorse May 28, 2009

    “I don’t know what will happen if you step on them...." ------ I would suggest not stepping on them....you probably won't be pleased with "what will happen".

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc May 28, 2009

    I've seen quite a few black snakes in my yard over the years but thankfully no copperheads. Heard a neighbor killed one in his driveway but that was years ago.

    On a hike last week along the Haw River in Chatham county, I came up on an Eastern Hog Nose, they hiss and spread their head and neck so they look like a cobra. Almost had to change my shorts on that one! Turns out they are common and harmless but it scared the heck out of me, lol.

  • tgcmisc May 28, 2009

    I had a ladder about 20 feet from the house in the edge of a natural area. It was grassy between the house and the ladder. The orange fiberglass ladder was on the ground for about 3 days.

    I picked up the 8 ft ladder and put it on it's side so I could carry it with one hand has I had a Drill in the other. I "repositioned" it twice to get it balanced and carried it about 75 ft. I put it up against a post....moved it to another post and then moved it again. I climbed it each time.

    After I got down, I noticed a "ball" of what I THOUGHT was a snake skin...looked like a pretzel, slightly squashed. I decided that the skin actually had a SNAKE in it. I threw down the ladder. My wife was nearby and yelled at me for scaring her...THEN she saw the COPPERHEAD. It was NOW stretched out inside the ladder. While I had been carrying it, it was all bunched (Coiled) up and unable to extricate itself.

    It was about 20" long and about 1/2" in Diameter. SPOOKY. DEAD! Heart Rate 150