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Beware Of Snakes In Fairfax County

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The Copperhead is Northern Virginia's only venomous snake.
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The Copperhead is Northern Virginia's only venomous snake.

By Cathy Carter

An unusually high number of copperhead snakes have been spotted in Fairfax County, and several snake bites have been reported.

John Peterman of Clifton Virginia was taking his dog for a midnight walk, that's when it happened.

"It Kinda felt like someone had bitten my toe off almost. It was that extreme of a pain at the time. I just remember trying to shake it off. At that point I went inside and then I saw there was three puncture wounds," says Peterman.

John spent four days in the hospital and received several rounds of anti-venom treatment. Doctors told him they hadn't seen a snake bite in over five years, so John wasn't sure he would be okay.

"Am I gonna lose my foot? Is this gonna recover? Am I gonna have damage down the road from this?," he asked.

Luckily, he'll be fine.

Vicky Monroe is a wildlife biologist for Fairfax County and she says its really too soon to be seeing so many Copperheads. She thinks the combination of our cold winter and warm spring has disrupted normal patterns for a variety of species.

"It stirred up a lot of animals. I usually do not receive calls until August so this is definitely irregular," says Monroe.

Experts say snake bites are rarely fatal, but if you are bitten go to the nearest emergency room.

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