Brantley man recovering from snake bite

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Brantley man is recovering this week after he was bitten on the foot by an Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake last Thursday.

Terri Dewrell said Tuesday that her husband, Don, stepped on the snake when he walked out the door.

“It struck him once on the bottom of the foot,” she said. “We went to Luverne and they gave him six vials of anti-venom.”

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The snake was about 18 inches long, she said.

Don Dewrell was transferred to a Montgomery hospital in case he needed more anti-venom because Crenshaw Community Hospital had exhausted its supplies.

“He got to come home Saturday,” she said. “He has to keep it elevated and he has some bruising. The doctor told him he it would take about seven to 10 days to begin to get back to normal.”

While, he’s not out of the woods let, he’s making improvements.

“We’re just hoping that we don’t have to deal with serum sickness,” Terri Dewrell said. “He’s very fortunate.”

The Dewrells aren’t the only Crenshaw Countians who have encountered venomous snakes recently.

Several Luverne Journal Facebook friends reported they have crossed paths with multiple different species.

“I killed a copperhead at my house Saturday afternoon,” said Jody Rogers. “I live between Luverne and Highland Home on 331. (I) liked to have stepped right on it.”

Bruce Knott said he’s seen a lot a lot of snakes recently.

“I have already killed two on my street,” he said. “I don’t know if they were venomous.”

Gene Sykes said he killed timber rattler in April that was about 5 feet long and had seven rattles.

Patrick Ryce had a different encounter.

“I flipped over a fishing boat near a lake and met a fat water moccasin up close and personally in May,” he said. “Couple weeks later one of our dogs visited a bush one evening and within a little while had terrible swelling and pain and fever. We found out why the next evening – copperhead. Dog is now fine; snake is not.”

Derek Bryan of the county extension office offered some tips for county residents on educating themselves about snakes.

“Since snakes are helpful to humans, as well as being a part of our natural environment, it is important that we learn to distinguish venomous and nonvenomous varieties,” he said.

In Alabama, five of the six venomous snakes are in the pit viper family — timber rattlesnake, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, copperhead, pygmy rattlesnake and cottonmouth. Pit vipers get their name from the presence of pits on both sides of the face between the eye and nostril.

The sixth venomous snake in Alabama is the coral snake, which is a fairly small, secretive relative to the cobra and has black and red rings separated by yellow rings.

Additionally, All pit vipers have a single row of scales, while nonvenomous snakes and the coral snake have double rows of scales.

While some people accidentally step on the snakes, experts offer a few tips to lower the risk of a bite:

• Leave snakes alone. May people are bitten while trying to get a closer look.

• Stay out of tall grass and remain on hiking paths as much as possible.

• Keep hands and feet out of areas you can’t see. Don’t pick up rocks or firewood unless you are out of a snake’s striking distance. Remember, a snake can strike half its length.

• Be cautious and alert when climbing rocks.