December 19, 2017

Do You Need Antivenom When Bit by a Copperhead?

If you are someone that lives in North Carolina or any of the Southeastern states, then you have surely heard of copperheads!  Copperheads are part of the crotalid family which include most vipers and other venomous snakes.  Although copperheads are one of the most common snakes you might hear about on social media about being extremely dangerous, if you are bitten how dangerous is it actually?

How Dangerous is a copperhead biteI know of a few people that have been bitten by venomous snakes, and a few that were bit by copperheads specifically.  The majority of hunters down in North Carolina that know they are going to be in snakey areas tend to use snake boots, but not everyone does.

Snake bites can really range from being incredibly dangerous to being a minor inconvenience.  Generally it is always best to aid on the side of caution, and get yourself checked out.  Especially if you are bit by a venomous snake.

Myths of Snake Bites

Copperhead Snake BiteOne common misconception about snakes is the difference between poisonous and venomous.  All the snakes that you should be afraid of are venomous, not poisonous.  Venomous means that the venom in injected into their prey, and poisonous means that if you consume it, then it is dangerous.  As you can see, many people use these words interchangeably, but they have two different meanings.

Another myth about snake bites is the myth that you should suck out the venom of the snake bite.  I always urge people not to try this common myth.  Although this myth might have some substance if done exactly right, and at the right time, you only risk further injury if you try to open the wound and suck out any venom.  Leave it to the professionals, go to the hospital and get your bite checked out so you don’t have to worry about it.

How Dangerous is a Copperhead Bite?

If you are bitten by a copperhead, there are a few things you should know.

Although copperhead bites are not typically fatal, you will need medical attention!  These bites are extremely painful and cause permanent scaring and tissue damage if not handled correctly and quickly.  That being said, Copperheads venom is in the medium range of dangerousness out of all venomous snakes.  It still has the potential to kill small children and pets if bitten.

That being said, the first thing you should do if bitten is to arrange for medical attention.  Get yourself to the hospital and get checked out.  Even it is a non-fatal bite, getting yourself to the hospital will prevent permanent scarring or tissue damage.

The easiest way to avoid being bitten by a copperhead is to avoid them!  The majority of people that are bitten by copperheads were done so when they were trying to kill them or move them.  Copperheads can be aggressive when messed with, and will stand their ground.  That being said, just let the copperheads move along their way as they will try to escape from the situation if given the chance!

Let them be on their way, and they won’t both you!


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