Two Boys in St. Mary's Are Bitten by Copperheads

By Matt Zapotosky and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, September 13, 2008

At least three people, including two in St. Mary's County, have been hospitalized in Maryland in the past two weeks after being bitten by copperhead snakes.

In the most recent case, a 17-year-old youth from the Chaptico section of St. Mary's was bitten on the driveway of his family home late Wednesday, his mother said last night.

Mary Getscher said her son Caleb spent two days in the intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital after being bitten just above the big toe on his left foot.

He remained hospitalized last night, Getscher said in a telephone interview.

On Aug. 30, a 9-year-old boy from the Scotland area of St. Mary's was bitten on a finger while he was at the edge of a wooded area near his home, according to his mother, Michele Slade.

She said the boy, Joshua, was taken to St. Mary's Hospital and then to Children's National Medical Center, where he spent two nights.

"This is the first time we've seen a copperhead," Slade said last night.

Reports of additional snakebites in the county in recent days could not be confirmed immediately.

In Western Maryland, a 3-year-old girl was hospitalized after she was bitten by a copperhead during Labor Day weekend.

The girl, whose name was not available, was bitten on the hand while camping with her family at Greenbrier State Park. She was taken to Washington County Hospital and then flown to Children's.

It was not immediately clear whether there was an explanation for the occurrence of three snakebites in the state in less than two weeks.

In the Chaptico incident, Mary Getscher said she believed that the copperhead had crawled onto the asphalt driveway of her home to seek warmth after dark.

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