Herpetologists: Hot weather is making snakes more likely to bite

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on June 23, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 24 at 1:19 AM

GARLAND — A young child is on the road to recovery after being bitten by a snake  happened in Garland on Sunday.

The four-year-old was bitten by a Copperhead and hospitalized.

Snake bite calls have doubled this year in Tarrant County. Four were reported between May 1 and June 14 last year. Two hospitals in Fort Worth are already reporting 20 cases this season.

Dallas County numbers are not yet available.

Dan Crayton came face-to-face with a Copperhead under his house in Loving on Monday night.

"He bit me four or five times. I don't know if they ever determined how many times he did bite. But he was a lot faster than I was," he said.

Crayton is the eighth snake bite victim at Texas Health Fort Worth Hospital this season. The facility had 17 all of last year.

Herpetologists say the above-average temperatures have turned snakes into active hunters.

They have to keep moving to find their food and they're more apt to attack anything that approaches.

Crayton is on an IV of expensive anti-venom.

The days of cutting the wound to remove the venom are long gone.

Doctors warn that home treatments aren't enough for serious snake bites.

"What happens is the extremity will swell from the toxins and it will swell to the point where it cuts off its own circulation. And when that happens, you end up losing the extremity that's affected," said an expert.

The treatments usually take two to five days.

"I didn't realize that a snake bite would have that much trauma, 'cause I never been snake bit before," said Crayton.

 Once Crayton is sent home, he plans on making sure he doesn't cross paths with a snake again, unless it's in a glass case.

 E-mail: cnorton@wfaa.com

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