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How to avoid copperheads and what you should do if bitten

Copperheads are the most common venomous snake in Georgia

MACON, Ga. — One thing we don’t worry too much about in the winter is seeing a snake, but now that it’s getting warmer outside, the slithery critters are coming back out.

Copperheads are the most common venomous snake in Georgia. The Department of Natural Resources says that's because they can thrive in anyone's backyard. DNR biologist Thomas Floyd says there are a few things you can do on your property to discourage them from paying you a visit.

"Your best defense is to keep your yard well-trimmed," he advised.

He suggests clearing away wood piles and any debris in your yard. Copperheads love nooks and crannies as they search for rodents, but the reptile is easy to identify.

"If you look at the snake from the side, I like to describe the pattern as a series of Hershey's Kisses," Floyd said.

If you happen to see a king snake in your backyard with its yellow and black pattern, don’t chase it away so fast.

“King snakes are really unique that they prey on venomous snakes such as copperheads. They are good snakes to have around,” he said.

Because copperheads are so common in neighborhoods, there is a chance you might get bitten while working in pine straw or doing other work. Don’t panic. Stay calm and get medical attention.

"Your best bet if you get bitten is not to try and kill the snake. Often people sustain another bite by trying to kill or capture the snake,” said Floyd.

If you can, try to take a picture to show doctors at the hospital. Also keep this in mind – snakes are around, but they are more scared of you than you are of them. Copperheads are also the least toxic of the venomous snakes in Georgia.

Floyd says that you might not need antivenom if you’re bitten by one, however you should still go to the hospital so they can monitor your condition.


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