Higher waters cause snake concerns after recent deadly bite - KMOV.com

Higher waters cause snake concerns after recent deadly bite

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(Credit: Missouri Department of Conservation) A copperhead snake in the wild (Credit: Missouri Department of Conservation) A copperhead snake in the wild
After recent snake bites, News 4 discovered snakes in the St. Louis area are found not only near rivers and in parks, but also in suburban areas.

Snake bites deaths in the area are rare, but on Friday, a 37-year-old Gilbert De Leon of southwest Missouri died of venomous snake bites after wading in the James River outside of Springfield. Last year, 52-year-old Timothy Levins of St. Charles died from a Copperhead snake bite.

Anne Kinner of St. Charles jogs on the Katy Trail frequently and occasionally comes across snakes.

"They're usually off to the side of the path, just laying in the sun," said Kinner, who doesn't mind sharing the trail with the wildlife. "Just be aware of where you are and how close they are to you. As long as you don't go aggravating them, they're not going to aggravate you."

With recent rainstorms and an increase in the water level, snakes are following their prey to higher ground, which means residents are more likely to see them.

"If you have a woodpile in your backyard, that's a possible snake habitat, so reaching in to get wood, you have more of a risk of encountering a snake," said Dan Zarlenga of the Missouri Department of Conservation, who added that the most common venomous snakes in Missouri are the Osage Copperhead and Timber Rattlesnake. "Of the two of those, the Copperhead is the most common and you might even see them in possibly a suburban backyard, especially if woods are bordering or a park, or something like that."

Safety experts encourage anyone bitten by a snake to go to the hospital to have it checked out, even if it is not believed to be from a venomous snake.
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