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Snakes on the Stairwell

June 6, 2018

        Several years ago I was living in the center of Guthrie, Oklahoma, in one of those great victorian red brick buildings right in the middle of downtown, loving the charm and architecture of the area.  One day I was heading down the stairwell from my second floor apartment and happened to look down.  There lay in front of me, blending in rather well with the hardwood flooring, a coiled up Copperhead snake.  It was pretty small actually and I wasn't sure it would be much of a threat but I decided to stop where I was and make a phone call to one of our guys at Flatline Pest Control.  I described what it looks like and immediately he told me to stop and don't try to cross it on the stair well, he would be there in a minute.  

 

Obviously I survived the ordeal, but I learned a few things in the process I thought I would share with any other Oklahoman's who might find themselves in a similar situation:

 

1. Just because they are small does not mean they are not mighty.  Baby Copperheads can potentially be more dangerous than the larger ones.  When they are young they have not yet learned to regulate their poison when they penetrate flesh, causing a toxic and extremely dangerous dump into their victim. Please do not see a small snake and think you are safe.   

 

2.  It is rare to see just one Copperhead.  So if you see one there is a good chance another one is lurking nearby.  If you encountered a snake in your home and had it removed that does not mean that you and your family are now out of danger. 

 

3. While Copperheads are generally not terribly aggressive, they will strike when feeling threatened. These snakes have a striking distance of 1/2 to 1/3 of their body length and before strike you will see the snake move it's tail back and forth. They are generally 2-3 feet in length but can be up to 40 inches long.   

 

4.Seek medical attention if bit.  While not usually deadly, Copperhead bites are painful (like right up there with childbirth and kidney stone painful).  They are also expensive.  An Antivenin cours