CAMDEN, S.C. (WIS) - A Camden family has a warning after their 4-year-old had a very scary encounter with a venomous snake.
Van Watson says his son Benjamin was playing in a sandbox at their home when Benjamin came across the snake.
“Bounced right back up, ran to the house and said, ‘daddy, daddy, there’s a snake in my sandbox. It hissed at me and went ‘hiss, hiss,’ and that got my attention. What I saw when I got here was a big giant huge snake, in reality, it was only 12-14 inches long. It could’ve gone very bad,” Watson said.
Big or Small, South Carolina is home to several venomous snakes, which wildlife trapper Tony Watford, with Watford’s Nuisance Wildlife Trapping, says need to be respected.
“Don’t try to catch it, don’t try to pick it up or anything like that. Leave it to the experts,” Watford said.
Watford says you can take simple steps today to make your land less attractive for snakes.
“Keep the undergrowth cut back and if you’ve got a rodent issue, get the rodent issue under control because that’s their primary food source,” Watford said.
Watson says he has one main message for parents. “Watch your kids. Keep an eye on them, especially when they’re outdoors, check and re-check their play areas because no one expects this to happen it can happen, happened to us,” Watson said.
The weather plays a role too, Watford says when it gets warmer, snakes start to move around and search for food.
When it rains, they will move to higher ground to escape any type of flooding. When it’s dry and hot, they will find places like a sandbox, or pile of leaves to cool down.
Take precautions to protect your pets as well. Dr. Brian Spilker, a veterinarian in Lugoff says there are some warning signs and symptoms to look for in your dogs and cats.
Seek medical attention if your dog or cat is: lethargic, or panting excessively, vomiting or has diarrhea.
Look out for: Swelling near 1-2 puncture wounds that could be oozing blood.
Also, if you are walking in the woods and your dog is barking at something and or yelps, that might be a sign that they were bitten by an animal or a snake.
Spilker says there is also a “snakebite vaccine” available. Which helps decrease the severity of symptoms and speed up recovery. It is called ‘Crotalus Atrox Toxoid’ and is administered as a series of two vaccines a month a part, the first year, then annually after that.