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Posted by Ron on April 13, 1998 at 02:43:31:
One fine early summer day my friend Greg and I were herping in eastern KY.
We had just set out and it was cool,cloudy and looked like rain,when we came upon a pretty little northern copperhead crossing the road.
Greg,against my better judgement,decided to keep the snake,so we bagged and boxed it and put it into the van.
Well, we finally reached our destination,and we began to hike the big ridges to possibly see a timber,and while we knew we were going to be gone for hours,we rolled up the windows,locked the van,and hit the bush.
When we were about 2 hours into the hike the clouds burned off and the sun began to blaze.
It was much to hot for snakes,but we did see quite a few scelopori going through their daily routine,in fact we were intertained for HOURS by these little guys and their antics.
When we finally got back to the van,I suddenly remembered the little copperhead from the morning."Oh F@#$,there is no way its alive"I exclaimed,as steam blasted our faces as we opened the door.
It had to be 90F outside,probably 110-120 in the van.
Well,Greg carefully picked up the pillowcase and shook it gently.NOTHING.No movement at all.He shook it harder,tapping the lifless weight at the bottom on the door.SILENCE."Pour some of this water on the bag"I said handing him my canteen.The snake was obviosly dead.
So Greg unties the pillowcase to dump the ill-fated,lifeless little guy out,he reached for the corner of the bag,and as soon as his fore finger and thumb touched the tinyest corner,WHAM!!!,The snake imbedded its fang in the tip of his thumb.We were no where near legitimate medical care,but we were near the "Miami Vally Serpentarium"(now known as the "Kentucky Reptile Zoo").
So we went to ask Jim Harrison what to do.
Well,after telling Jim the same story that I have told you,he thought it was the funniest thing he had ever heard,having been bitten by far worse,i guess it was kind of funny to him,His advice was to do nothing,unless dizzyness,or nausea persisted,so thats what he did.
After a couple of hours the thumb turned as black as a ripe plumb,and stayed that way for a couple of weeks.The pain was described as a combination of a really bad bee sting,and hitting your thunb with a hammer as hard as you can.
Needless to say a lesson was learned,to respect venomous snakes,even the ones that can't kill you.
I have other "bite"stories as well,Like the time we found a groundhog while road cruising...