NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A local dog is in emergency care after it was bitten by a venomous snake in the backyard.
The dog’s owner, Kaye Schroeder, says, “You think your backyard is your safe haven. You don’t think anything can happen on your property, but it does.”
Schroeder noticed her Jack Russell Terrier, Lacey, was behaving strangely Tuesday morning after going out in the backyard.
Schroeder says, “She was shaking. She was subdued, which is odd for a Jack Russell Terrier, and after about five or ten minutes her nose started to swell up.”
On the patio, curled up next to a chair, Schroeder found the creature responsible.
She says, “Just about the size of your palm, a coiled up snake that was lunging at the other dogs.”
She found out that snake was a venomous copperhead and rushed Lacey to the emergency vet. The pup has to stay overnight for observation, but doctors are optimistic she will recover.
Schroeder says, “People who are pet owners know their fur babies are their babies. When you have to jump in the car and rush to the emergency room, it’s like part of your family.”
There’s a good chance people in the Lowcountry could see a copperhead in their own backyards. Herpetologist Josh Zalabak at the South Carolina Aquarium say it’s the time of year snakes have their babies.
He says, “There’s a good chance in the Lowcountry you’ll come across them at some point. They live in pretty much every habitat you can think of and adapt well to urban environments.”
Unlike some other snakes, copperheads have live births. They give birth to about 10 babies at a time.
Zalabak says, “Baby copperheads certainly can be as dangerous as the adults. They can’t inject as much venom, but it’s just as potent.”
One way to identify a copperhead is by looking at the size and shape of its head.
Zalabak says, “If they have that big head that’s a lot wider than their neck, that might be a venomous snake. That’s where the venom glands are stored. And if you’re not sure, your best bet is just to avoid them.”
Kaye Schroeder encourages everyone to be aware and keep a watchful eye.
She says, “Watch your children, watch your fur babies, because you’re out and you think you’re safe and something like that happens.”