Tuesday , March 28 2017



The last thing a parent would wish to see their baby go through. Jack and Kathe recently shifted to Chihuahua in Mexico with their two year old baby Kiara. Unaware of the surroundings, one cool morning, Kathe left her two year old baby to play in the garden with her toys. On hearing the cry of the baby after some time, Kathe went to the garden. When she approached near, she froze to see a snake, with hour glass pattern and sulphur yellow tail, pass by her baby. The baby had a snake bite on her finger.  Kathe thought she had lost her baby. Accidently, an old lady, neighbor of the couple, immediately rushed to the nearby hospital with the baby.

“I heard a baby cry and ran towards the garden. The garden had copperhead snake everywhere. The baby had a snake bite on her finger so I came here immediately,” Neighbor told the doctors. The doctors cleared the venom and praised the lady for bringing the child on time while complained the mother for not doing her homework before shifting to the place. The baby had a little damage in her muscle and bone tissue as the finger could not absorb the venom due to very little mass muscle present in the area. Although the snake bite is mild in adults, but can be poisonous for children. The bites are very painful with severe nausea and swelling.

Later, Kathe did a deep research on copperhead snakes and learnt that these snakes are very commonly found in North America. There is a wide range of habitat typically in mixed woodlands and deciduous forest. Be it rock outcroppings, low-lying muddy regions, pine forest, dry areas or watercourses, they are all over. If the weather is hot, they hide during the day and turn active at night time. They prefer cool weather and stay nearby ponds or stream, or rock so that they can find plenty of prey.

May be Kathe’s new house location being near a stream was the reason of its presence in the garden. As they had newly shifted, Kathe had no time to clean the garden giving plenty of space for the snakes to hide. The snakes must have hidden under the large flat stone or decaying stumps, garden mulch, composite piles, saw dust or stone walls due to which Kathe could not see it with her naked eyes and thought the area to be safe for her child.

They are average in size between 2-3 feet in length. The male snakes have long tails but the female ones are longer in comparison. The hourglass pattern that the mother had seen in the snake is the pattern present only in copperhead snakes.  The pattern however may vary in size and color. There are many snakes with similar striking color and are often confused to the copperheads.

The color not only varies among other snakes but also in adults and young ones, excluding the head of the snake which is always copper colored.  Kiara had been bitten by a young snake as young ones have sulphur yellow tail. Even small snakes have dangerous and painful bites and since they are found everywhere in the garden, small children and pets usually fall prey to them. The strategy used by the copperhead is, to freeze itself in their natural habitat and remain still until the threat is passed. For safety they depend upon the camouflage in the dead leaves on the floor of the forest and due to their coloration and pattern. it is easy for them to cover themselves.

It was not only her daughter bitten by the snake but US records the maximum number of snake bites by the copperhead snake.  In the eastern US, the statistics show the copperheads among the top venomous snakebites. When Jack was informed about the incident, he was speechless. The couple had never thought of themselves getting trapped in such a situation.

Kathe regrets if only she and Jack had researched about the place before shifting, they could have avoided the pain and sufferings their daughter had been through. Their daughter had intense pain, swelling, throbbing and rigorous nausea. They even sued their estate agent for not informing them about the copperheads. Although Kiara recovered early, the discomfort caused was endless.

As parents Jack and Kathe had never failed to meet up their growing child’s demand. Be it health or safety they had always been up to the mark. The incident left a fearing memory in their lives and they became more cautious for their daughter’s safety.  As parents they wish, they or any other parent experience such incident in the future. It is very hurting to see children suffer so much.

When kiara arrived home after a few days, the neighbors visited jack and kathe. They all talked about the copperhead and measures to be taken for its safety. The matter was discussed by almost everyone in the suburbs. They knew it was no body’s fault but the little soul had to pay heavily for it.

The neighbors advised the couple to clean their garden immediately. Replace garden mulch with gravel mulch so that snakes don’t hide in these places any more. This shall lessen the risk of harmby the snakes.  Clear all the trash and pick up any old log or stone carefully to avoid future accidents. Kathe and Jack were also recommended to keep thick jeans, gloves and boots with themselves while working outside home.

Although there are snake repellents available in the market, but in case of copperhead they are less helpful. The neighbors share their experiences of using the repellents in large quantities as the snakes taste their surrounding air and leave on smelling the repellent. But very little has been heard of its success. There is yet another repellent that works very well with the copperhead. This devise sends pulse through the ground. Somatic hearing i.e. vibrations sent throughout the bodies through spines is the formula used upon which the snake senses danger and leave the place immediately. Injecting the prey with venom has also been helpful in killing these snakes in some part.

They also taught some first aid to the couple which could be useful in future.  But lastly they advised to rush to the hospital as soon as possible. It was also advised not to suck the venom or apply ice cubes on the affected area. Trying to kill the snake is also a reason for many people to get bitten. One needs to be aware of the beautiful creature to avoid future sufferings.  Even pets once bitten should be rushed to the nearby veterinarian.

What Kathe and Jack experienced could have been experienced by any one. It is always better to research about any place before shifting, so that little children don’t fall prey to such accidents. It is not in all events that small children are saved from such poisonous snakes.  Kathe and Jack have adopted all safety measures to keep their child away from any venomous animal as they have understood how painful it can be to go though all such things in a new place.

They thanked their neighbors for being so helpful and understanding, and accepting them as new members of the society with warm hearts. Now, the community has boards all over the place warning any new residents against the dangers of copperhead snakes and their prevention.  Small acts are also presented forchildren underage to be safe while playing alone in the garden. Kathe and Jack are active members of such plays.



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