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Old 04-18-2009, 08:41 PM
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Default (Article) How dangerous are Copperhead snakes?



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http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/gaston/Pests...copperhead.htm

A Copperhead snake bite needs medical attention, is extremely painful, and may cause extensive scarring and loss of use. Many people are bitten while trying to kill or handle the snake. Don't take chances -- avoid these snakes.
"Copperhead bites are typically not fatal," says Dr. Peter Bromley, N. C. Cooperative Extension Specialist in Zoology. Small animals, like small dogs, may receive a fatal bite from a copperhead. The venom causes local tissue destruction and secondary infection often sets in. If you or your pet are bitten by any snake that you suspect is venomous, get medial attention immediately. For the most part, if you let snakes alone, they'll leave you alone.

North Carolina has the dubious distinction of the most venomous snake bites of any state in the U.S. Many of these bites could be prevented by avoiding the snake instead of trying to kill it or pick it up. Avoid Copperhead snakes! Allow it to go on its way undisturbed. Copperheads bite more people in most years than any other U.S. species, but they also have the mildest venom. University of Georgia Professor Dr. Whit Gibbons is conducting research to learn why copperheads inflict the most bites.

All the snake species tested have had the same initial response to human presence. If given the opportunity, they escape--down a hole, under a ledge, or in the case of cottonmouths, into the water. Escape is even the standard behavior of enormous diamondback rattlesnakes, which will immediately disappear if they have enough warning before they think a person can reach them.

But often escape is not possible, so most snakes hold their ground, ready to defend themselves. A difference between copperheads and the other species appears in the next phase, when they are approached. Most rattlesnakes vibrate their tails and most cottonmouths sit with mouth open when a human comes near. Even some non-venomous snakes vibrate their tails. These displays are merely warnings not to tread on them. They are not aggressive attack measures. The snakes just want us to leave them alone.

So far, the dozens of cottonmouths Dr. Gibbons stood beside have made threat displays but have not bitten the researcher's boot. The same has been true for canebrake rattlesnakes although too few have been tested to declare that they are as passive as cottonmouths. The exciting news (at least for the researchers) is that the copperhead is different from the others. Most copperheads tested have struck out immediately when they felt threatened.

This behavior explains why more people receive legitimate snakebites from copperheads than from any other species of venomous snake in North America. Still to be investigated is another aspect of copperhead bites: many are not serious enough to require more than minor medical treatment. This may be so not only because the venom of a copperhead is significantly less potent than that of rattlesnakes or cottonmouths, but also because they seldom inject much venom.

The copperhead's initial threat display is to strike. It lashes out at an enemy as a warning. If the enemy is close enough, the fangs may penetrate the skin. However, because this is a threat display, not an attempt to kill, the snake injects little venom. A copperhead has no intention of wasting valuable venom if it can scare away the menace with a minor bite.

Keep in mind, however, that even a non-fatal bite needs medical attention, is extremely painful, and may cause extensive scarring and loss of use. Don't take chances-- avoid these snakes.

Whit Gibbons is the Senior Professor of Ecology at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in Aiken, South Carolina.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:01 PM
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Just penicillin or something stronger like erythromycin?
Old 04-18-2009, 10:05 PM
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hey guys its still a toxic snake, its bite can cause a full grown man to freak out in pain, sweat hard, helusinate, raise ur blood pressure and alot more nasty things. If you get enough in you say you pick it up like a goof by the rear it swings around and hits u good and hard and grinds in a bit b4 u react and rip it out, u can and die. Plus it can give you a heart attack and that can b crippling.
Old 04-19-2009, 12:24 AM
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I've been chased by way too many cottonmouth snakes to say they are a passive snake
I think that snakes have personalties like humans meaning, one cottonmouth will chase you while another will stay and threaten you, and another will try to get away. Still the best chance for you is to try and avoid them.
this may offend some board members but I try to kill most if not all poisonous snake that are around my house to keep them away from from my family
Old 04-19-2009, 05:46 AM
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It's true that you probably wont die from it, but I don't think you should be suggesting to people on the net (i.e. kids) that you shouldn't even go to the hospital if you have anti-biotics at home. It's still pretty serious, and causes long term disabling effects. Here's how I know:

My Father was bitten by a southern copperhead (there is also a northern variety) on the webbing between the thumb and finger. Over the course of 3 days his whole arm swelled up to look like an average mans leg (it looked like it was going to burst). The hospital gave him an intense anti-biotic treatment and in a week or so the swelling went down and he went home.

That was about 10 years ago. To this day he can not make a tight fist with that hand, he can not bend his thumb in to touch his palm, and he has very little fine motor skills (such as writing).

He didn't go to the hospital until the next day, when it had already started to swell. If he had gone right away maybe the damage would have been less.

Don't take a chance, what doesn't kill you doesn't always make you stronger.

The Bum
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:20 AM
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passive? Get close to either a cottonmouth or diamondback rattlesnake, you'll learn they are not passive. I killed a 2 foot diamondback at my mailbox that had only one rattle, there was no way that snake could sound a warning. I have a 3 year old grandson that plays in the yard with his 3 year old cousin. Needless to say, the snake is now passive!
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94greenbronc View Post
I've been chased by way too many cottonmouth snakes to say they are a passive snake
I think that snakes have personalties like humans meaning, one cottonmouth will chase you while another will stay and threaten you, and another will try to get away. Still the best chance for you is to try and avoid them.
this may offend some board members but I try to kill most if not all poisonous snake that are around my house to keep them away from from my family
I agree. Though I don't have any experience with this "brand" of reptile I did own a couple of iguanas many years ago. Both looked identical yet one was really passive and friendly while the other remained extremely aggressive and untamed the whole time I owned it. Assume that any snake you come across is aggressive and stay away from it if possible. If I lived in a rural area with farm animals, pets, or children around, I would simply kill the snake if it was too close for comfort.
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:51 PM
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Most folks are scared of snakes, which is why they talk about snakes attacking people, not being passive, and being aggressive. The simple matter is, snakes are NOT aggressive. They ARE passive. I work with venomous snakes, out in the field as well as at work, and I know for a fact that they will NOT attack you. LOL. They don't Chase anyone either. Snakes only see two things. Things they can eat (which we obviously are too big to be), and things that can eat them (from which they run). Anyone who claims that you can't stand close to one has obviously not stood close to them. They want nothing to do with us. Why would they bother killing us? They can't eat us, so it would be a waste of venom (not poison. Snakes are not poisonous, they are venomous) It's not like they are going to slither off to their friends to tell them "I got another one!!" If you step on one by accident, or reach into a bush where they are and hurt or scare them OF COURSE they are going to bite. They are defending themselves. That's common sense. I am not saying if you have a child, keep the snake there. I am saying watch your environment, keep your little ones (and yourself) away, and let the snake go on it's merry way. Kill it? There is no reason I can think of to kill a snake, other then fear, or simply because you want to kill something. Move the snake if you can, if it is venomous, call the authorities. Killing it is just done for fun, not because you are protecting life and limb. LOL. I am not a member of PETA or anything like that. I just don't see the reason to kill an animal when there is no reason. Like I said, those who do only..... ONLY..... do it out of fear, for fun, or because they want to brag about how they killed a snake.
Just stay away from them. That's it.
Old 04-19-2009, 10:01 PM
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Snake ID is something I've always had trouble with probably because I've only seen a handful of them in person. Seems as if you spend a lot of time in the outdoors this should be an essential skill especially for your immediate area.
Old 04-19-2009, 10:03 PM
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nevermind.

Last edited by macmonkey; 04-19-2009 at 10:25 PM.. Reason: nothing.
Old 04-19-2009, 10:05 PM
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The bible say to bruise his head. It doesn't say how hard. I do the bruising with .38 rat shot.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmonkey View Post
p.s. it may be noteworthy to point out to others that the Coppoerhead is also known as the Water Moccasin. I thought for a long time these were 2 different snakes.



A Copperhead is NOT a Water Moccasin. A Cotton Mouth is a Water Moccasin. Copperheads, while members of the same family as Water Moccosins, are not the same snake.
Old 04-19-2009, 10:25 PM
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oops. thanks for pointing that out. I knew it started with a 'C'.
Old 04-20-2009, 09:03 AM
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Default cottonmouth... passive?

Without a doubt the most aggressive snake around here where i'm at is a cottonmouth... i've been chased up hills and through the brush by a moc many a time and i ain't been no closer than 12 feet to one... so NOW the local water moccasin is decreased via .45 ACP every time one so much as looks at me twice. I hold no aggression towards them... but I ain't met one yet that don't get aggressive towards ME.

I don't see many copperheads (pilots, around here) but i know they're around. Every once in a while I see a big eastern diamondback and in my 21 years i've only ever seen one coral snake in the wild.

By the way, has anybody here ever come across a big old cow moc' when she had her babies close by and had it come after you from 20 foot out (I was on top of an old dam that busted years ago and she was down in the gully near the creek bed) while she was sunnin by her hole??? I honestly didn't know she was there til i looked down the hill to see what my dog was barking at (he WON'T go down that hill and never has... but he NEVER barks in the woods) lookin down with the hair on the back of his neck standin on end... and hear she come... I hate killing anything I ain't got to but that snake caught a .38+P 158 grain LSWC-HP real quick like.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:57 AM
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I have a friend that was bitten by a copperhead and his only advice was not to let it happen. As far as a cotton mouth is concerned I had one crawl between my feet while I was fishing spooked me real good. I also found myself less than 18 inches from a coiled diamond back and this snake was huge and the snake did not rattle but I sure did.
Old 04-20-2009, 10:21 AM
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The worst thing about copperheads is they are EXTREMELY well camoflauged little guys.

Most snakes will leave you alone if you do the same but these guys are so hard to see you have to be right on them to notice them.
Old 04-20-2009, 10:43 AM
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It is a joke to call the police/animal cops around here. 2 weeks ago my son called me about a rabid animal on his property. He called the police who told him to call animal control who told him to cage the animal and they'd come pick it up in 2 days! Now, this is a residential area with children all around. No way, no how would I leave a live venomous snake close to children and no way would I try to cage it. Just like with the animal on my son's property, that snake would get treatment with a .357.

Would it be out of fear? You bet it would. I admit I have a huge phobia concerning them. I don't even want a dead one around me. Is that fair? NOPE. However, it's how it is.
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:55 PM
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IMO copperheads are more dangerous than rattlesnakes, if you stand still a rattlesnake will crawl away, but a copperhead on the other hand will bite you out of pure meanness.

About 2 years back copperheads and timber rattlers started crossing, and we had snakes that were black, had no rattles, and were meaner than pure hell. We did not know what they were until we gave one to a guy who works at the college and he told us what it was.
Old 04-20-2009, 04:58 PM
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i was walking a trail along a swampy area with a hill on one side the biggest black snake i ever seen was comeing down the trail toward me i went up the hill to give him the trail to go on and keep a good distance from it and he decided to give chase instead up the hill behind me so i know for a fact they can chase people if they want i just wish i was carrying a gun that day,he finialy turned and went back down the trail i kept at least 20 ft or more between me and the snake at all times,
Old 04-20-2009, 08:36 PM
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since copperheads are the among the mildest of venomous snakes in the US. Is a man in a survival situation or hiking way up in the smokies who gets bit without lots of antibiotics on him just F'd? Would smearing mud on the bite and letting it bake in the sun help suck out the poison and dry out the moisture to kill the bacteria?
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