Don't Worry About Poisonous Snake Bite
A camper in Brown County State Park suffered a poisonous snake bite when he was bitten by a copperhead on July 16, 2016 while walking to the shower house.
Nan Zhang, 35, Carmel, was camping in the Taylor Ridge campground when he walked to the shower house in flip flop sandals. During the walk, Zhang was bitten on the big toe by the snake. He was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital in stable condition.
Fear of poisonous snakes is one of the biggest phobias that keep people out of the woods. However, according to Jarrett Manek, Interpretive Naturalist at O’Bannon Woods State Park, outdoor adventurers really don’t need to be too concerned.
“You don’t need to worry about it (poisonous snake bite),” said Manek when we spoke to him on the phone yesterday. Manek noted that poisonous snakes in Indiana are uncommon and quite localized. “When you look at the number of people in the woods, both on DNR properties and private property, versus the percentage of snake bites, the number is incredibly small,” he said.
Manek says there are simple ways to avoid contact with snakes. “Wear closed-toe shoes, watch where you step or put your hands and avoid brushy places where you can’t see the ground,” he explained.
According to Manek, the key to avoiding problems is simple respect. “With any wild animal, just like humans, you need to give it very clear personal space. Copperheads and timber rattlers (the other relatively common Indiana poisonous snake) don’t go out of their way to hurt you or attack. They only strike when feeling threatened or defensive,” he said.
Though snake bite stories are sensational, the specter of poisonous serpents lurking behind every tree in the forest, waiting to kill you and your family, is simply wrong. Snakes are merely a part of the landscape, one more thing that adds a bit of spice whenever we traverse the (increasingly) wild places in our state.