Poisonous Snake Alert in Montgomery Co.

Copperhead spotted; captured

Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011  |  Updated 11:33 AM EDT
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Poisonous Snake Alert in Mont. Co.

AP

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Be on the lookout for poisonous snakes in Montgomery County.

Gaithersburg Animal Control officers captured a copperhead snake Monday evening in the 100 block of Swanton Lane in the Orchard Park neighborhood.

The copperhead is one of only two venomous snakes that are indigenous to Maryland; the other is the timber rattlesnake.

City officials said that although it is rare to encounter copperheads in Gaithersburg, Monday’s incident is a reminder to residents to be aware of their surroundings during yard work and other outdoor activities.

In May 2010, a copperhead bit a border collie named Luke in Fairfax County.  Lucky Luke recovered thanks to medication. There was no anti-venom in the area.

Copperheads are most active in the warmer summer months at dusk and evening hours.

During the day, the snakes are most likely to lie underneath objects to take cover from the hot summer sun. Their natural camouflage can make them difficult to detect if they are lying in leaves or brush.

Should you come across a copperhead, zoology experts from the Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State University advise you not to take chances.

According to their website, although copperhead venom is milder than many other poisonous snakes, a copperhead bite “needs medical attention, is extremely painful, and may cause extensive scarring and loss of use. Many people are bitten while trying to kill or handle the snake.”

For quick identification of the copperhead, visit the Virginia Herpetological Society's website.

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