( CNN) Meg Trammell, age 11, had just eaten supper after her first day of school at Advent Episcopal School in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.
“My mom and I decided to take the dogs on a walking, ” recollected Meg , now 12 years old, as she described the late mid-August evening inthe suburbs of Birmingham.
Meg never realized the actual serpent, she only heard a rustle in the bushes. She suspects it bit her while she paused on the stoop or maybe while descending the steps. Though she didn’t immediately feel the bite, she seemed pain minutes later.
To her, it felt like a bee sting. With her big toe swelling and beginning to hurt, her mother inspected and “saw the fang celebrates and they were kind of bleeding a little bit, ” said Meg. “My dad called 9-1-1. ”
Though she had a snake bite kit in the house, Scott-Trammell wasn’t sure how to employ it.
“I thought you had to suck the poison out — that used to be what they said, ” told Scott-Trammell. “So I’m Googling, trying to figure out, do I have to suck[ the venom] out and how much time do we have? “( Snake bite kits are not helpful, some experts tell .)
During the anxiety, paramedics arrived. They took one look at the bite, told Meg she wasn’t going to die, and helped her into the ambulance. While Meg and her mom were on itinerary to Children’s of Alabama, a police officer searched the azalea shrubs, took a photograph of the snake, and texted it to Scott-Trammell.
Opening the text, she saw a copperhead, a venomous inhabitant of the eastern United States.
Gradual increase in cases
In the US, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 7, 000 to 8,000 people are bit by venomous snakes each year and about five members of those people succumb.
Dr. Joann Schulte, an epidemiologist with the North Texas Poison Control Center, used to say “over the past few years, the numbers[ of snake bites] have been rising by perhaps 100 to 200 a year.”
“The numbers are going up in the majority states gradually, ” said Schulte, “simply because as we have more global warming the serpents can do better farther north.” Generally, snakes are known to occupy the lower 48 states. A typical hotspot for a number of venomous and non-venomous snakesis the Southeast, especially Florida, told Schulte, yet snake bites have recently begun to rise in Georgia and North Carolina.
Deadly rattlesnakes are concentrated in Texas and the West, but a gradual migration further north appears to be taking place, mentioned Schulte.
“I think it’s going to be toward the end of June to middle of July before you know if it’s a more snakey season, so to speak, than last year was, ” mentioned Schulte. The numbers just aren’t in yet.
Nikole Castleberry, assistant curator of vertebrate collections and herpetology collecting at Georgia Museum of Natural history, said this information about an increasing number of snake bites is relatively new.
“We can only theorize — there hasn’t been any scientific study looking at it, ” said Castleberry.
“This last winter was truly warm, ” indicated Castleberry as one possible reason. Both snakes and people spent more time outside, so they were more likely to encounter each other, she theorized. Lately, hospitals have been encouraged to report snake bites to poison control and the CDC, so another possible explanation is “more reporting, ” told Castleberry.
“There’s close to no reason to believe that snakes are becoming more aggressive, ” she added.
Population density and human activity plays a role in the number of serpent bites, mentioned Schulte. Increasing urbanization, with people moving into housing developments built in formerly remote regions with creeks and woods, contributes to rising numbers.
“Some of the factors that can make it a worse snake bite season in one nation is comparable to another is if there’s flooding. Snakes get dislocated, ” said Schulte. “Like anybody else, they don’t wishes to drown, so they go to higher ground.”
Defensive , not aggressive
Matthew Goode, a research scientist in the School of Natural Resource and the Context at the University of Arizona, belief the threat of serpent bites is “way overblown.”
“It’s pretty obvious that behavior more people die from ponies or dog bites or bee bites, ” said Goode. “More people die from likely tripping over a stone or something.”