CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Snake sightings are on the rise, with 79 reported sightings during the month of April and two copperhead bites reported in the last two weeks.
Last week, a Ballantyne man was bitten with the most recent coming on Tuesday at Latta Plantation. Fortunately, neither bite was fatal, but those incidents have only increased awareness of the slithery serpents.
Rick Seifert says his company, The Pest Control Authority, has received a spike in snake calls.
"The number one snake we get calls on is the black snake," said Seifert, who's been trapping pests for over 40 years.
Seifert considers black snakes as a blessing because they are not venomous and they eat rodents and smaller snakes, like the venomous copperhead, which is considered Charlotte's most dangerous snake.
"If you see a snake, the number one thing to do is to back away from it," says Seifert.
Seifert says the increase in sightings is due to the mild winter. Rodents and bugs are thriving and thus, so are snakes, who love to feed on both.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few things you should definitely not do if you get bit by a snake.
- Never assume the bite is not poisonous. Call 911 and report it. Don't be a hero.
- Do not wash the bite. The venom can help identify the snake and tell doctors exactly what kind of anti-venom is needed.
- Never apply a tourniquet or ice. The venom can become trapped in an extremity if too much pressure is applied, which could cause tissue damage.
Your pet is much more likely to be bitten by a snake. Dr. Natalie Hauser of the Commonwealth Animal Hospital says it's a good idea to know which emergency veterinary clinics carry anti-venom because it's not common practice for vets to possess the healing potion.