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EXPERT: Copperhead snakes take advantage of seasonal food such as cicadas

WGCL Atlanta logo WGCL Atlanta 2 days ago
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ATLANTA (CBS46) - We are just days away from the emergence of a rare insect the Brood X cicadas, they are expected to make their debut in Spring after a 17-year slumber.

This year parts of Georgia may see billions of these insects, as the dormant Broad X cicadas will rise from years of hibernation.

The Brood X cicadas can feed an army of venomous copperhead snakes.

It is not the insect you have to worry about, rather the copperhead snakes.

It’s a pain for those who’ve experienced a bite and one you would not even wish on your worst enemy.

Christina Simmons, a bite victim knows all too well, when she was bitten on the foot in her backyard from Georgia’s most common venomous snake, the copperhead.

“I remember coming to, so to speak, and crawling across my threshold screaming at my husband, I couldn’t even walk the pain was excruciating,” said Simmons.

Mark Mandica, a reptile expert and handler said, “If you’re bitten by a copperhead you need to call 911,” he added, “The snakes each year become active around spring and can be found all over metro Atlanta, but this year experts say we might see more snakes than usual.”

Mandica tells CBS46 News, at certain times of the year they take advantage of seasonal food sources such as Brood X cicadas

"Now that the cicadas are going to be with us soon it’s probably more likely that you’ll see some copperheads around,” said Mandica.

Georgia residents need to be aware that the snakes are active during the day and night in areas around the house.

Adult snakes range in size from 2-3 feet and can be identified by distinct markings.

“They have a Hershey’s kiss pattern when you’re looking at the side of the animal,” added Mandica.

Experts urge people who get bit by the venomous snake to not panic, as panicking can spread the venom faster and elevate the affected area, most commonly the foot.

Mandica shares, the best treatment for a bite is usually painkillers and waiting for the pain to subside. Antivenom is not usually given.

Those unfortunate victims like Simmons say the tortuous pain can take months to heal.

“They had to call a specialist who was out hunting and when he came in, they were thinking they may have to amputate my foot,” Simmons added, “so my foot stayed largely swollen from the moment I left the hospital to a month on, I couldn’t walk on it, I couldn’t put shoes on it.”

The good news a bite from a copperhead is not usually deadly, although deaths have been recorded, remember they are good for the environment and are not aggressive. If you do see one leave it be and call a professional.

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