Boy bitten by copperhead snake released from hospital


A 14-year-old boy who was bitten in the hand by a copperhead snake at the Devil’s Den Preserve in Weston on July 6, has been released from the hospital.

The boy spent two nights at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was kept for observation and treated with antivenom for the snakebite.

He was released on Wednesday, July 8, according to Mark Blake, Public Relations Officer with the Weston Volunteer Fire Department.

The boy’s hand and arm swelled up considerably from the bite, all the way past his elbow. “Once the boy received the antivenom, the swelling went down, but it has not gone away. There is still some swelling and discoloration. It will take about a week to 10 days for his hand to get back to its normal size,” Blake said.

Copperhead snakes are venomous. Their bites are rarely lethal, but can still cause considerable injury and damage. “A bite from a venomous snake is a serious thing. If left untreated, the victim could lose an arm or limb,” Blake said.

At Yale, the boy received four vials of antivenom, which is used for treating snakebites and is derived from milking and then diluting the venom from snakes. “The boy received the recommended dosage of antivenom based on his size and weight,” Blake said.

The hospital only had four vials of antivenom on hand because the product has a limited shelf life and needs to be replenished frequently, according to Blake.

The boy, whose family did not want his name released, got the snakebite while hiking in Devil’s Den on a field trip with other children and adults. The boy was not from Weston, Blake said.

He was bitten while reaching out to touch a copperhead snake he encountered while hiking. Blake said what happened to the boy can serve as a lesson to others to leave snakes alone.  “A snake won’t usually do anything unless it feels threatened. So if someone reaches towards a snake, it will strike out,” he said.

Weston EMS and the fire department responded to a 9-1-1 call made Monday about the snakebite, and the boy was taken to Norwalk Hospital. He was later transferred to Yale because Norwalk did not have antivenom to treat the snakebite.

A week earlier, a copperhead snake was found at a Woods End Lane home in Weston. Residents let it alone and called Weston Animal Control Officer Mark Harper, who removed it safely and relocated it.