Snake strikes a two-year-old at Chehaw

June 2, 2008

Dougherty County -- A two-year-old boy is recovering from a poisonous snake bite. A copperhead bit him at the Parks at Chehaw Saturday morning, the second copperhead bite at the park in nine months. But it's not just a problem at Chehaw.

As temperatures warm up, snakes are on the move; and as we spend more time outside that adds up to more snake bites.

Southwest Georgia is home to several types of venomous snakes. "We tend to be on the look out for rattlesnakes, which are pretty common in South Georgia and the Cotton mouth or water moccasin are just as prevalent," said Parks at Chehaw Executive Director, Doug Porter.

And with 700 acres of woodlands making up the Parks at Chehaw, you can expect to find a few on the property. "When its warm like this and with the dry weather they are out. They are relatively active particularly in the heat of the day," said Porter.

Copperheads are especially dangerous because they lie very still and camouflage perfectly with the dry lives and pine needles.

"On the zoo trail where we have paved areas, we are going to take a look at how we can clear the pathways back, and at least try to make the snakes more visible if they are out in the public areas," said Porter.

Snakes are very defensive, but will only strike if they feel threatened. "They aren't out looking for people.They are out looking for food that they can eat. So anytime they strike and bite somebody it means that you invaded their space," said Porter.

"We always advise people to know where they are putting their hands and feet. Most of the time when you get bitten you have gone somewhere where the snake was able to get close to you without you seeing it."

There are signs through out the park warning people about wild animals, but this park patron said she doesn't need a sign. "It's common sense with all the woods around," said Kelly Purvis.

And with a little caution you and snakes can co-exist peacefully. If you are bitten by a snake, call 911 immediately and stay calm.