Increased Bites After Floodwaters Push Snakes Inland

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Floodwaters have impacted the lives of those in the Midwest, including wildlife. 

In St. Louis, flooding has washed away the riverbank burrows of snakes, forcing them to move inland closer to cities. KTVI reports the Missouri Poison Center receives daily calls regarding venomous snake bites, and expects more to come.

“Water gets into the preferred homes of snakes, and since snakes can swim, they just swim up to the next available piece of habitat,” explained media specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Francis Skalicky. 
Recent heavy rainfall in southwest Missouri could lead to similar results in the Ozarks.
Copperheads are Missouri’s most common venomous snake– its unique print making it easily identifiable.
“[The copperhead] has these reddish, pinkish, brown wedges on the side– a lot of people call them Hershey’s kisses,” said Skalicky. “It really has a pattern that’s like no other snake.”
Due to the unexpected nature of these bites, there is no real way to be prepared, but keeping garages clean and lawns mowed is a good start. 
“If you show them that this is probably not the most ideal place for them to be by your cleaning, that will cause the snake to move on,” explained Skalicky. 

In the event of a snake bite:

  • Seek immediate medical assistance.
  • Keep the effected area below heart-level, to slow the spread of venom.
  • Attempt to photograph the snake to help medics with treatment.

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