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Boy, 7, bitten by snake

June 03, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

A 7-year-old boy was taken to Washington County Hospital on Wednesday evening with a snake bite to the finger, according to Washington County Fire and Rescue Communications.

The victim's father said late Wednesday the boy was doing well but was being held overnight at the facility.

Shawn Kelly said his son, Colin Kelly, was bitten by a copperhead at 14035 Heavenly Acres Ridge, east of Hancock

Kelly and the boy's aunt, Rose Kelly, said the swelling hadn't gone beyond his hand and that blood tests were being done. Kelly said his son was doing well.

"He's just got a swelled-up hand. They're just keeping an eye on him for observation," he said.

Kelly said the snake was hiding under a dog bowl on the back porch of the residence. He said it is the first snake he has seen on the property in a couple of years.

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The incident was reported about 6:05 p.m., a 911 dispatcher said.

The homeowners killed the snake, the dispatcher said.

A hospital spokeswoman said the boy's condition was still being evaluated Wednesday night.

Maryland is home to two types of poisonous snakes - the Northern copperhead and the timber rattlesnake - according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Web site.

The Southern copperhead also can be found in Maryland, but that snake is uncommon, the Web site states.

The 911 dispatcher said he did not know which variety of copperhead it was, but antivenin was requested.

According to the DNR Web site, it is rare for someone to die from a snake bite, but they are more serious in children because the body's ability to absorb the venom varies with the person's weight.

The Northern copperhead is a rich, reddish brown with a series of darker hourglass markings down its back, the DNR Web site states. The head is usually bright copper and the belly is pinkish. The snake is rarely longer than 3 feet.

The Northern copperhead is the only Maryland snake that has dark dorsal markings that are narrow on the back and broad on the sides.

According to the American Red Cross, someone bitten by a poisonous snake should immediately seek medical help and immobilize the bitten area, keeping it lower than the heart, the Web site says.

Do not ice or cool the bite area, cut into the wound or apply a tourniquet, the Web site states.

Staff writer Brian Shappell contributed to this story.

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