Hidden copperhead snake bites 5-year-old boy at Texas home


A 5-year-old boy was bitten by a copperhead snake while doing yard work with his uncle near Houston, Texas.

Screengrab from Facebook post by Brandy Smith.

A copperhead snake bit an unsuspecting 5-year-old boy outside a Texas home earlier this month, according to his family.

The boy, Daniel, was picking up leaves with his uncle on Wednesday, June 1, and accidentally picked up a hidden snake, Brandy Smith told McClatchy News. The snake struck her nephew, injecting venom into his hand.

His uncle quickly dispatched the copperhead with a pair of gardening shears and rushed Daniel to an emergency room in Houston.

“I was running errands and they called me to meet them,” Smith said. She dropped what she was doing and went to see her nephew in the hospital.

A toxicologist was on site and treated Daniel with antivenom, Smith wrote in a Facebook post, sharing photos of Daniel from the hospital.

Hooked up to an IV, the boy’s swollen hand was propped up at an angle, purple at the spot the snake sunk its teeth into.

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Copperheads inject a painful, flesh-destroying venom. Screengrab from Facebook post by Brandy Smith.

“I’ve truly never been so scared in my life,” Smith said June 2, but Daniel recovered quickly. “His range of motion and labs are good so we get to go home later today.”

While copperhead venom can be deadly, the vast majority of people recover with medical treatment, experts say.

“I am so thankful” for the doctors and nurses “and all the prayers we’ve received,” Smith wrote.

Of the venomous snakes native to Texas, copperheads are part of the largest family: pit vipers.

Their gray, brown and copper coloration blends so well with fallen leaves and plant debris that “it’s possible to stare right at a copperhead” and not see it, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says.

“Because they are so well camouflaged, most bites occur when a snake is accidentally picked up or sat or laid on. Always use care when picking up or flipping over logs, boards, old tin or other items where copperheads may be resting,” TPWD said.

Mitchell Willetts is a real-time news reporter covering the central U.S. for McClatchy. He is a University of Oklahoma graduate and outdoors enthusiast living in Texas.

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