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Breaking News: Snake Bites Spike

leah kirk


               Southern snakes are on course for a record year. Venous viper bits are up across the board in most states.  Snake bites in Georgia are up 40 percent this year according to the Georgia Poison Control Center. South Carolina is also reporting a 30 percent increase this year. While North Carolina saw a notable spike in bites - receiving 71 calls in April 2017 compared to only 19 calls the year before. When it comes to snakebites in people 18 and under - Florida and Texas have the highest rates of snake bites - with Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia, not far behind.

               Some are blaming the increase on a short and mild winter. Others point to the failure to kill on sight rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads and coral snake which is condemned as adhering to “politically correct” tolerance of these extremely dangerous reptiles. There is a consensus though on the fact, “dead rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads and coral snakes” never bite children.

If bit by a snake - The Mayo Clinic suggests calling 9-1-1- immediately - removing jewelry and or tight clothing in case you start to swell and positioning yourself so the bite is below or level of your heart. Oh yeah, although they did not mention it, seeking medical attention is a proactive option you should consider.

Fresh off the press is A Guide to the Snakes and Lizards of Virginia. Authored by Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries DGIF biologists, this new 72-page field guide includes more than 170 photos covering the ecology, distribution, and conservation of Virginia's 32 species of snake and 9 species of lizard.  It is an expanded version of the agency’s current snake guide with more technical information and new photos.