Animal experts warn snake bite incidents on the rise

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield County girl is recovering after being bitten by a copperhead. The incident happened near a creek in Bon Air.

Local experts say these types of incidents often spike when warmer weather arrives. So with more people spending time outdoors, animal experts say keep an eye out for snakes.

“They can be in residential areas they can be in wooded areas, they can be around water, it’s going to be kind of a snake habitat,” Veterinarian Dr. Paul Howard said.

Dr. Howard says copperheads are prevalent in Richmond and can bite people and pets. His office has already seen an uptick in cases related to snake bites.

“During the spring, summer and fall, it’s not unusual for us to see two, three four cases a week,” he explained.

That averages to roughly 75 cases a year.

In the case of the Bon Air girl who was recently bitten, he considers her lucky.

Copperhead bites compared to other types of venmous snake bites are relatively low, however, occasionally they can cause severe problems,” Dr. Howard said.

Dr. Howard said there’s usually swelling, discoloration of the skin and pain at the site of the bite. He recommends anyone who plans on being outdoors to be safety conscious.

If you don’t want to create a habitat for them or want them in your environment, you should try and not create habitats for them: Down timber, unkempt lawns, out buildings that are poorly maintained … ” Dr. Howard explained.

Dr. Howard added, however, that if you do see a snake to not kill it as they play an important role in nature.

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