Snake Safety

While there are two species of venomous snakes, the timber rattlesnake & the copperhead, that can be found in THIS area (Western NC), it is easy to mistake a venomous copperhead for several harmless species. If you see a snake, just walk around it (give it at least three feet, when possible). Do not try to poke it, agitate it, move it, or get it to move. Snakes are defensive, not aggressive.

If you are bitten, you DO NOT need to kill, capture, or even take a photo of the snake, as it won’t affect your treatment (in THIS area, with THESE two species). The snake may bite again if bothered, with a larger amount of venom.
If you are bitten, call 911 immediately. If you don’t have cell service, send a friend for help or, if alone, make your way to help. As soon as you are able to contact help, tell them your location, WHEN you were bitten, and any symptoms.

Per NC Poison Control: 


  • Remain calm and still
  • Lay down, keeping the affected limb at an even level with the rest of the body (preferable).
    Sit down and raise the bitten area to heart level.
  • Remove any jewelry or tight clothing near the bite site
  • Clean the wound gently with soap and clean water only.


  • Don’t Cut the bitten area to try to drain the venom. This can worsen the injury.
  • Don’t Ice the area. Icing causes additional tissue damage
  • Don’t Make and apply a tourniquet or any tight bandage. It’s better for the venom to flow through the body than for it to stay in one area.
  • Don’t Suck or use a suction device to remove the venom


Additional Information

There’s no reason to be alarmed if you find a few teeth in your skin. Snakes have many teeth and lose them easily because they’re only superficially attached to the jawbone. Snakes also replace teeth throughout their life. Most snakes let go as soon as they bite, but on rare occasion that a snake doesn’t let go, it’s best to just try to gently pull its head from your skin. It doesn’t take a lot of force to remove a snake. This only happens to people that try to pick up a snake with their hands.”

“Fortunately, copperhead venom is relatively mild. The bites are painful, but deaths from copperhead bite are extremely rare. When proper medical assistance is received, the bite normally causes no permanent injury. Medical assistance should always be sought for any venomous snakebite.”

NC Poison Control: Snake Brochure