Snake bites up 60% in state of Georgia - CBS46 News

Snake bites up 60% in state of Georgia

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Source: WTOC Source: WTOC
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Many of you have enjoyed a shorter, milder winter, but it looks like our warm temperatures throughout the season have left us with a wildlife problem. 

Snake bites are up nearly 60 percent in the state of Georgia. We spoke with wildlife experts Wednesday out at Oatland Island to find out how you can dodge this slithery problem. 

It appears the warm weather kept these animals very active. Snakes don't hibernate, but cooler temperatures will slow them down. Seeing as how we didn't really get that this winter, snakes in our region have remained very active, leading to an unprecedented amount of bites and encounters for this time of year. 

“Typically in the winter weather, the cold weather snakes are not coming out they are cold blooded. The warmer the weather the more active they are,” said Jonathan Jackson, an animal care technician at Oatland Island. 

Georgia is home to six types of venomous snakes. In Chatham and surrounding counties, those include Copperheads, Water Moccasins, Rattle Snakes, Diamondbacks, and even the Coral Snake. Those are the ones you really need to watch out for. Georgia Poison Control says their first recorded bite was on Jan. 3. Normally, they don't get any reports until March. These animals may seem elusive, but don't let that fool you. 

There are a couple of things you can do to try to eliminate an encounter. First off, be cautious after severe weather hits. The moisture and hot humidity tend to drive them out. Also, keep your yard well-groomed and eliminate things like wood piles, which are good hiding spots for the critters. Lastly, if you do see one, leave it alone. Call Animal Control or a wildlife exterminator. 

"Snakes are found everywhere. Unfortunately, I know that is something people don't want to hear, but they are in the woods, they are off to the sides of the playgrounds, they are in your own backyards, and I know no one really wants to hear that, but they are. Like you said, snakes really tend to gravitate toward certain areas; areas that are low-lying, low shrubs, close to water, and even in areas where animals are located," said Jackson.

One local exterminator says he's getting as many as 40 snake-related calls a day right now. 

Twenty-five percent of snake bite are what they call “dry” meaning there is no transfer of venom. For those less fortunate, seeking medical attention is necessary and lucky for you, the folks at Memorial have the cure the not all hospitals have.

“We carry a significant amount of anti-venom, which is quite expensive for some of your smaller hospitals,” said Dr. John Sy, an emergency physician at Memorial.

The Georgia Poison Control center told WTOC on Wednesday a vial of anti-venom can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000 and the average patient needs at least four just to start treatment.

“We have enough and we are a transfer center. We have a significant amount that comes in from EMS,” said Dr. Sy.

Georgia Poison Control says this problem is the worst right now in North Georgia. They say the best defense in a snake bite situation is your car keys, to drive yourself to the hospital. Do not attempt to suck the venom out!

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