AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s a Mother’s Day Shanta Johnson will never forget as she stepped outside of her Summerville home that Sunday.
“It is one of my worst fears to even come in contact and see a snake in the first place,” she told us.
Whether it was luck or fate, Shanta Johnson can now place a check mark next to two things she hoped never would happen; seeing a snake and getting bitten by one.
Johnson told us, “I was getting ready to run some errands, so I had my hands full. As I was coming out of the door, as soon as I stepped foot out of the door, I felt something bite me.”
She looked down from her porch and saw a snake moving through the grass. That’s when she informed her husband and went straight to the ER, not knowing if it was poisonous at the time.
“He was a brown, about four or five feet long snake,” she said.
Dr. Jedidiah Ballard works in Augusta University Medical Center’s ER. He said never try to catch a snake and bring it to the hospital with you. It is something he said people like to do. But he said if bitten, go to the ER.
“Generally speaking, you’ll be observed for about six hours to see if it’s swelling up or we’re going to do a little bloodwork to check your blood panels to see how well your blood is clotting,” he said.
After her tetanus shot and a just a two hour stay in ER, Johnson took to social media to warn others, thanking God the snake wasn’t poisonous.
But we wanted to dig a little deeper into why and how this bite happened. So, we spoke with Meg Francoeur, a licensed reptile rehabber in Aiken County. And even though I was nervous on the other side of the camera, her education helped calm me enough to touch the non-venomous snake joining us for the interview.
“I’d like to correct the idea that people are born with this innate fear of snakes. They really aren’t. It’s taught to you,” said Francoeur, an educator and Licensed Reptile Rehabber.
We took a look inside of her snake collection often used to educate kids. She said if you leave snakes alone, they won’t bite.
“There’s a lot of people who have been accidentally bitten just because they don’t realize they are close enough that the snake feels like it’s a threat and so it will bite in defense,” she said.
Francoeur also said it’s hard to know a venomous snake versus a non-venomous one, but leave them all to what they do best; protect the ecosystem by eating rodents. She reassured us snake bite deaths are rare. Just keep your pets away and yard clear.
She added, “Snakes, like any other animal, are looking for food, water and shelter.”
Additionally, Francoeur told us many people may get a snake repellant for the yard that is electronic, but she told us that device will not always work. Others will try to place down mothballs, but that method is unsafe.
Anyone wanting to get rid of snakes in your yard can for free. Just head to Facebook, type in CSRA Free Snake Relocation and send a message.