Snake Bite Season Warming Up in Georgia

Snake Bite Season Warming Up in Georgia

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

It’s only mid-May, but the Georgia Poison Center is already getting calls about snake bites. Sandra Davenport, who retired last year after 30-plus years behind the scenes at FOX 5, had a close encounter with a Copperhead last week.

She was walking her foster dog "Raspberry" in her northeast Atlanta backyard. Davenport says, “We were doing our morning business and she walked up poked her nose in and poked it out."

Raspberry was nose to nose, with a small Copperhead. Davenport says, “Luckily he was sleepy. And she wasn't, and I wasn't too sleepy either!”

At the Georgia Poison Center, Director Gaylord Lopez says, “We already starting to see snake bite calls here, and I suspect with some of the rains we've had earlier this season that these snakes are going to be out."

The vast majority of Georgia snakes are harmless, and help keep down a number of garden pests. And experts say even the venomous snakes – like Copperheads – will only bite if they feel threatened. So, they say, if you see a snake, back off and leave it alone. Lopez says spiders are also out and about, too.

While, again, most spiders don’t bite, Lopez says, “We've got a couple of spiders we worry about in Georgia. We worry about the brown recluse spider and we worry about the black widow spider. So, those are important spiders that cause a lot of problems. If callers call in about those type of situations, we've got staff who will be able to answer their questions."

Lopez says even bug spray can be problematic. For kids, he says, use the lowest concentration of the chemical DEET you can find. That’s because he says, “A child's skin if fairly porous. And these are very concentrated chemicals. So when you're looking at insect repellants make sure you read the label. Look for the ingredient called DEET, in a child the rule is the lower the percent, the better it is for the child."

Sandra still looking for a forever home for “Raspberry.” in the meantime, she's keeping her eyes wide open. She says, “Just be aware. Be careful, it's that time of year.

If you’re bitten, get away from the snake and call 911 or the Georgia Poison Center. Be careful walking your pets at night, when snakes are more active. And watch where you’re putting your hands and feet when you’re in the garden. If your pet is bitten, see a vet immediately.

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