Pets Face Potential Bite of Curiosity
Posted July 14, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — While the summertime weather may be making some of us a little sluggish, it's making cold-blooded reptiles a lot more active. Lots of snakes have been spotted throughout the area. Your household pets, especially dogs, are at greatest risk.
"This is the color of a copperhead," explains snake expert David Woodward. "It's basically tan or a cream-colored background. It has these figure-eight or egg-timer shaped brown markings."
To household pets, Carolina's commonly-found Copperhead probably looks a little curious and may be something fun to try to play with. Far too many animals in our area are finding that bites from these snakes are poisonous and very painful.
"Some years we never see a snake bite," Dr. Gale Bowman says. "And to have two occur within a two week period of time had us concerned."
Dr. Bowman of the Bowman Animal Hospital has put pet owners on a snake alert, urging them to keep dogs leashed and to look out for the symptoms.
"If the dog's face is swelling and the dog is painful or acting depressed, bring him in immediately," advises Dr. Bowman.
"I worry about ticks and fleas," explains pet owner Beverly Lynch, "but I would have never thought about snakes."
You're not necessarily going to find a snake in the middle of your lawn. They prefer areas that are overgrown with lots of natural cover and tall grasses.
Woodward also says the Copperheads will go wherever mice go, which is probably where a dog may go exploring. The best advice for protecting pets from the poisonous bites: keep curious areas off limits.