Saturday night July 13 around 9:15 PM a seven-year-old girl was playing with other children on her campsite in Brown County State Park. The girl ran around the outside of the tent into the edge of the wood line where it is presumed she was bitten by a copperhead snake. After complaining of two puncture wounds on her ankle her father checked the area and saw a snake.
The family called 911 and transported the girl to meet the ambulance at the park entrance. The ambulance started for Columbus Regional Hospital and was then diverted to Riley Children’s Hospital. Doctors stated the girl will make a full recovery.
DNR employees attempted to catch the snake, but heavy foliage allowed it to escape. The DNR employees were joined by Indiana Conservation Officers, Brown County First Responders, Brown County Sheriff Department and Nashville Police.
While rare, there have been other copperhead bites in the park and they have had the same factors in common. They have occurred after dark and the person involved was not using a flashlight in a poorly lit area.
There are a few tips to consider in order to prevent encounters with snakes in the park:
- Stay on designated trails and mowed areas. Snake is less likely to come out in the open.
- However, after dark, snakes will move around to hunt for food or lay on warm roadways. So it is a good idea to stay in well-lit areas or use a flashlight.
- Keep your campsite clean. Snakes feed on rodents and human food wrappers, and debris on the ground may draw rodents to the site and the snakes may follow.
- If you are camping in an area where there are snakes check your site occasionally to make sure no snakes are passing through.
- If a snake does come on your site stay away from it, keep kid and pets away from it and contact the campground office to let the park staff know.
Copperheads are natural members of the ecosystem and food chains of this area. Copperheads mostly feed on small rodents. Together with their controls on rodent population actually have a large impact on reducing tick populations.
So they have their part to play in our environment. When we play in the same environment that they live in we just need to be careful and take a little extra caution. It is illegal to kill snakes on Indiana State Parks property.
All DNR news release can be found at https://www.in.gov/dnr/