More Snake Activity Reported In East Texas - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/21/05-East Texas

More Snake Activity Reported In East Texas

The recent rains are bringing moisture to East Texas, but it's also bringing out something else: snakes.  The damp, cooler temperatures that came with that rain meant snakes were out earlier during the day. The ground is still moist, and the snakes are still lingering.

One East Texas boy was recently bitten by a venomous snake and spent two days in intensive care. Last Friday evening, 11-year-old Steven Sutton was shooting hoops when the ball bounced near the side of the house.

"I was running to go get it, and it bit my foot! Felt like someone had stabbed me with two pins in my foot," Steven said.

What the family believes was a Copperhead struck at Steven's bare foot.

"Those are the two marks where I've been bitten," he said showing his foot, "that's where it was swollen originally. Then it swole right there around the foot, even my toes. Then it went up to my ankle through here."

Steven was taken to ETMC Athens for immediate treatment. Emergency room physician Douglas Gandy said this time of year, they see more snake bite victims.

"June, July, August. It's pretty common in East Texas," he said.

Everyone reacts differently to a snake bite, but the doctor had some advice on what to do if you are bitten.

"(You) want to maintain kind of a low activity level, try not to get too excited," he said. "Usually its an extremity. You want to kind of keep it in a neutral position. Nothing above the heart, a little bit below."

Snake handler William Garvin of the Caldwell Zoo said the five poisonous snakes native to East Texas are: two types of rattlesnakes, corals, cotton mouths, water moccasins and what bit Steven, copperheads.
Copperheads have strong ability to camouflage themselves in leaves and grass.

"(Copperheads are) really the one that counts for the majority of venomous snakes bites we have here in East Texas."

Some advice this summer to avoid bites, William Garvin said wear jeans or long pant legs and shoes and boots when you are out in grassy or creek areas. Most snakes have a hard time biting through the material.  He also said move wood piles and trash away from your yards, where snakes can hide.  The most important thing is to never try to capture or kill a snake. That's when you are most likely to be bitten.

Maya Golden, reporting.

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