Beware of the Copperheads in Gaithersburg!


Beware of the Copperheads in Gaithersburg!

If you live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, you might want to watch your step when you go outside, and cover your pipes-drains inside and keep toilet seat down. We have had a lot of heavy rains lately. Snakes and other critters that live outside may be flooded out of their homes or have a hard time finding food. There are very likely regular underground critters along with venomous snakes lurking in your neighborhood looking for food and dry areas due to the higher water levels from heavy rains, and Copperhead snakes could be among them and are not very friendly. They are called copperheads because they have a distinctive copper-colored head and hourglass-shaped markings on their body. They can grow up to three feet long, and they can bite you if you get too close or they feel threatened.

Copperheads are one of the two venomous snakes that are native to Maryland, along with the timber rattlesnake. They are found throughout the state, but they seem to have a special fondness for Gaithersburg. In 2011, two copperheads were captured by animal control officers in the Orchard Park and Quince Orchard Park communities.  The city in 2011 issued a warning to residents to be aware of their surroundings and avoid contact with these dangerous reptiles.

Copperheads are active from April to October, and they prefer to hide under rocks, logs, leaves, or other debris. Although rare, they can innocently come inside your home or apartment looking for food or a dry place to stay. They are more afraid of you than you are afraid of them so they are just trying to find a place to survive. Unfortunately, some residents in Virginia found snakes coming up through their toilet! Snakes feed on mice, bugs, birds, frogs, lizards, flies and other insects. They are not aggressive, but they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. Their venom is not usually fatal to humans although it can be, but it can cause severe pain, swelling, nausea, and tissue damage. If you, your child or pet are bitten by a copperhead, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

How can you avoid being bitten by a copperhead? Here are some tips:

-Pay attention as snakes, mice, and other critters are trying to survive and may be seen more in places that you do not normally expect to see them. 

- Wear boots and long pants when you walk in wooded or grassy areas.

- Do not touch or pick up any snake, even if it looks dead or harmless.

- Keep your pets on a leash and do not let them roam freely.

- Do not reach into holes, crevices, or piles of leaves or rocks without looking first.

- If you see a copperhead, do not panic. Back away slowly and calmly, and do not try to kill or capture it. If they are outside, they are contributing to our eco-system in a healthy way. 

- Keep mice and bugs out of your homes including apartments so snakes don’t come looking for food. 

- After or during heavy rains, keep toilet seat down to keep out anything traveling up through the pipes. If you see a snake in your toilet, don’t flush it down as it may come back through, instead of flushing it down, contact your professionals. 

- If you find a copperhead on your property, call animal control or a professional snake removal service.

Remember, copperheads are part of the natural ecosystem and they play an important role in controlling rodent populations. They are not evil or malicious creatures, but they do pose a risk to humans and pets. By following these simple precautions, you can coexist peacefully with these slithery neighbors and enjoy the beauty of Gaithersburg.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 8/6/2023

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified