POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla.- Pottawatomie County residents and doctors are warning their neighbors to be on the lookout for snakes with a venomous bite.
Doctors in St. Anthony’s Shawnee emergency room has treated 11 snake bites in just one summer.
Peter McLaughlin, an emergency room specialist, says, “Statistically, that’s probably a little more than usual and I think it’s probably because of the rain.”
Doctors are on high alert this summer.
They’ve seen patients who have come in contact with snakes that caught them completely off guard.
“Most of them have occurred doing activities that all of us would do,” says McLaughlin. “Mowing the lawn, taking the trash out.”
Along with pain from the bite, the cost of treatment seems to be what hurts some patients the most.
McLaughlin says, “Just the cost of the anti-venom, depending on how much you get, is around $15,000 to $20,000.”
That doesn’t include any other hospitalization fees you might incur.
While the number of bites are on the rise, the number of close encounters has been the story of the summer for one Shawnee neighborhood.
Harold Carter said, “I don’t know if it’s a sixth sense or what but I froze and jerked back. It was really hard on the heart for a minute.”
Carter and a few of his neighbors have collectively killed 30 venomous snakes in three months.
Carter said, “When you find one, you’re going to find another one pretty soon, nearby.”
He says every time he’s found one, he wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.
“Looking around, seeing if there were leaves around the air conditioner and there he was!” exclaims Carter. “About a foot away.”
He’s had too many close calls with some pretty scary species.
“We have only found Copperheads. My neighbors found pigmy rattlers. This has been quite an outbreak here. It’s been really bad this year.”
Fortunately, no one on Carter’s street has been bitten.
They are well-prepared and offering up their tips to save you and your family a trip to the ER.
“Anytime you pick something up you want to be very careful,” says Carter. “We really watch where we go and at night, you go with a flashlight and boots.”
Carter says he doesn’t leave the house without his “snake killing stick.”
His neighbor has even tried to control their habitat but they still just keep coming.
“Around his house, it’s real good and trimmed,” says Carter. “Seems like it doesn’t make any difference. They can be anywhere, just anywhere!”
Click here for more tips on what to do if you are bitten.