Venomous snake season begins

There could be some hidden dangers right in your backyard.

Venomous snakes in Pennsylvania are out in full force right now, and in some situations they can be deadly.

A Dauphin County man is recovering after he was bitten by one of the venomous serpents.

"The moment that I was bit and that snake's eyes and mine locked, it was the most terrifying moment of my life," said Steve Dunn, a recent snakebite victim.

Dunn is recovering at home after being hospitalized for four days.

He was bitten by a copperhead Tuesday. It was curled up with a new garden hose he took out of his garage.

"There was instant pain and I knew right away that I was in trouble, that this could be life threatening," Dunn said. "I didn’t think of calling 911, just left everything, got in my car, headed toward the hospital."

Jesse Rothacker, with Forgotten Friends Reptile Sanctuary, has been rescuing reptiles since 2004.

He says you have to be on the lookout for these creatures.

"If you just remember, from ten feet away you’re not in danger," Rothacker said. "From 10 feet away, they’ll never come any closer, they won’t follow you home, they’re not going to send you a friend request on Facebook. They won’t bother you unless you bother them."

There are three types of venomous snakes in Pennsylvania, and right now is actually venomous snake season. It lasts between the second weekend in June until the end of July.

"There’s a good chance they’re out," explained Rothacker. "They spend six months of the year underground, so they do need to wake up and get a couple meals before they go back to sleep."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it's estimated 8,000 people nationwide are bitten by a venomous snake each year.

Staff at the hospital in Harrisburg told Dunn that the last snake bite they treated was about five years ago.

"They didn’t have any anti-venom prepared because it’s so rare," Dunn said. "So they had to go into the lab and mix it up and get it ready for me."

Dunn says it was a scary moment The venom caused additional problems for him, creating the potential for blood clots.

Now he's on the mend.

"A lot of bruising and swelling here," Dunn said, pointing to his hand. "That will take a long time to go away, probably turn colors and get worse before it gets better."

Forgotten Friends Reptile Sanctuary says, if you see a snake and send them a photo, they'll let you know what kind it is, and if it's dangerous.

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