MARKET COMMON, S.C. (WBTW) — Snake bites in South Carolina are up compared to last year, according to data from the Palmetto Poison Center.
There have been 154 snake bite calls made to the poison center this year already. Last year, there were only 245 reports.
“A lot of our calls are just people in their garden and they’re accidentally bitten,” said Jill Michels, the managing director for the Palmetto Poison Center. “They don’t see the snake or they’re doing yard work.”
Copperhead snakes are the most common type in South Carolina. They are also venomous.
Michels said if you get bit by a Copperhead, you’ll notice some swelling and pain. She said the main thing to do is stay calm.
“Don’t put ice on it, do not put a tourniquet, don’t try to cut it or suck out the venom,” Michels said. “Keep calm, remove constrictive clothing, jewelry, wash and then go to your nearest emergency department.”
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Copperhead snakes tend to go where there’s shade and a food source — like mice.
Michels said homeowners should clear their yards of debris and leaves to keep pests away.
“That can also be a little home for little furry animals like rats and mice and such, and so that’s what the snakes want to eat,” she said. “And so, when you have a food source, you have snakes.”
Pest control companies are used to the regular snake calls, but some of them are now getting snake bite calls.
Bryant Hooper, the owner of 365 Wildlife and Pest Control, said he’s received about 30 snake bite calls already this year.
He said if you’re bit by a snake, there’s another important thing you should do.
“Try to remember the shape of it, the color of the snake because things like that can really help out the medical field when you go to the ER,” Hooper said.
Michels said all hospitals in South Carolina carry anti-venom for Copperheads but exotic snakes like pythons need a different type of treatment.
Adrianna Lawrence is a multimedia journalist at News13. Adrianna is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the News13 team in June 2023 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2023. Keep up with Adrianna on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also read more of her work, here.