Tuesday 8 October 2019

South Carolina toddler receives hospital treatment after being bitten by Copperhead.

A toddler in South Carolina has received hospital treatment after being bitten by a Snake on Wednesday 2 October 2019. Atlas Johnson, 2, was bitten on the leg by a Copperhead Snake, Agkistrodon contortrix, while walking on a driveway outside his home in Horry County. He was taken to the Conway Medical Center, where he was treated with antihistamines and monitored for four hours before being discharged. However his condition later deteriorated and he was taken the Medical University of South Carolina, where he was treated with the antivenom CroFab

 Bite on the leg of Atlas Johnson, 2, caused by a Copperhead Snake. Casey Watson/WIS TV News.

Copperheads are a type of Pit Viper, Crotalinae, widespread in the eastern and southern United States and parts of Mexico. They are small-to-medium sized Snakes, seldom exceeding a metre in length, and are primarily insectivores. They are ambush predators, favouring woodland environments, where their copper-brown colouration gives them excellent camouflage against leaf litter. Copperheads will generally avoid Humans, but are a common source of bites, as they will generally try to avoid conflict by freezing rather than retreating, with the effect that Humans sometimes do not see them and either step on them or close enough to cause the Snake to lash out. Fortunately the venom of a Copperhead is not very potent, and most bites are 'dry' (i.e. the Snake does not actually inject any venom). For this reason the bite of a Copperhead is usually treated initially with antihistamines rather than antivemon (which can cause allergic reactions worse than the Snake bite), with the later only being used if symptoms persist.

A Copperhead Snake, Agkistrodon contortrix. Edward Wozniak/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Wikimedia Commons.

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