Snake bites on rise in SC, expert offers advice on avoiding bites

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Palmetto Poison Center officials say this time of year it receives calls almost every day requesting treatment information for venomous snake bites.

Snake bites have been on the rise in South Carolina.

Earlier this year the center reported a 30 percent increase in calls through April.

The Palmetto Poison Center usually gets calls on between 150 to 160 venomous snake bites a year.

Last year there were more than 200 bites and so far this year there's been 83. Though bites calls are have slowed down a little since May they are still higher than normal.

Seven-year-old Caroline Hashem knows what to do if she sees a snake.

"You just go inside and tell a grown-up," Hashem said.

A black racer snake lives in her backyard.

"They're cool and I'm impressed they can just sliver up without any arms or legs, just using their belly," Hashem said.

Experts say you should leave snakes alone like Caroline to avoid getting bit.

Dax Warren is a Nuisance Wildlife Operator and Owner for the Wildlife Guys.

He says they handle nuisance wildlife in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties.

"They say that 80 percent of people that get bit by snakes, get bit trying to either kill or capture the snake," Warren said.

He gets about five calls a week about snake sightings.

"Anytime you're outside, anytime you're walking you need to look where you step and if you do see a snake remember the snake is more afraid of you then you are of it," Warren said.

He says if snakes are lingering around your home there's a reason.

They've likely found shelter or a food source. Getting rid of what's bringing them there can help keep the snakes away.

It's not clear exactly why there's a rise in snake bites, but South Carolina has had a warmer winter that could make them more active.

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