Local News

Be on lookout for slithering snakes

Posted May 28, 2009 6:08 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2009 7:21 p.m. EDT

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

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.