WASHINGTON – It was a scary day for an Arlington mom after her 3-year-old son was bitten by a copperhead snake last weekend.
Three-year-old Beckett Clarke was playing on his grandmother’s Arlington driveway when he moved a handful of sand onto a nearby stone wall.
“He reached into a crevice in the wall and was bit,” says his mom, Jessica Lovelace.
Beckett started screaming and Lovelace says she didn’t know what bit him since the marks on his finger looked more like scrapes.
More than half an hour after the bite, his hand started swelling.
“It wasn’t the type of puffy, fluid swelling. This was rock hard and it was starting to turn gray because the tissue in the blood vessels were starting to atrophy,” she says.
Beckett started to lose consciousness and they rushed him to the ER.
“It actually got even scarier when his eyes started rolling back into his head,” Lovelace says.
Doctors and poison control identified the bite as typical of a copperhead snake.
Copperheads are one of only three venomous snakes found in Virginia. Snake expert Kory Steele, with the Virginia Herpetological Soceity, says Beckett likely didn’t get a full bite — just a warning.
“When you’re talking about a 3 year old and a finger, venom is so potent it could have been only a few molecules that got in his finger that elicited a reaction,” he says.
Steele says while copperheads can do some damage, a bite likely won’t kill you.
“Copperheads are the least venomous of all venomous snakes. They are not at all something likely to kill you unless you’re very young, very old, or immune- suppressed,” Steele says.
Beckett is expected to make a full recovery, but he’s not allowed near the stone wall for a little while, Lovelace says.
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