North Texas Hospital Treats Copperhead Snakebite Victim

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – An area snakebite victim says he won’t make the mistake again. Gabriel Flores was trying to keep a copperhead snake away from some kids playing at an Arlington apartment complex this past weekend when it happened.

“He bit me,” Flores explained. “I [looked and] saw my hand bleeding.” Flores says his hand and arm started to swell to more than twice the normal size.

Flores was rushed to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth where Dr. David Smith treated him. “He had a puncture wound from the snakebite and some swelling of his hand that advanced up his arm,” Dr. Smith said of Flores’ injuries. “That responded very well to the Profab [antivenom] and he’s done very well.”

Doctors say venomous snakebites can be very serious and patients need to get a shot of antivenom medication as soon as possible.

Despite the fact that venom from copperhead snakes is toxic and extremely painful, Flores is confident he’ll be fine since receiving successful antivenom treatment. “I feel okay. I feel okay,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m gonna die, or something like that.”

In case you’re wondering, Dr. Smith says you should ignore those western movies that show someone sucking snake venom from a wound. “That’s pretty much of a myth. It’s hard to get the venom out [and] potentially dangerous, because the human mouth is very, very dirty bacteriologically.”

Doctors didn’t have a hard time figuring out what type of snake bit Flores; he killed the reptile and brought it with him to the hospital.

Officials at Harris Methodist say the get about 17 snakebites a year, but this was the first urban case in about two years.


One Comment

  1. Joy says:

    I live in an Urban area and we have cottonmouths and copperheads…. Matter of fact they are about 3ft long and bigger that we have killed already this year.

    1. Mike says:

      Stories like this only help to increase people’s fears of something that doesn’t need to be feared. Coperheads have absolutely no desire to bite people nor do they even want to be around people, not to mention, copperhead bites are not deadly like this story would have you believe. The guy obviously was messing with the snake for it to bite him on the hand. The species of copperhead found in Arlington is the broadbanded copperhead, which rarely exceeds 18 to 24 inches, the record being just under 3 feet long. They are common and not aggressive like some people’s stories might suggest. Also, to add to Joy’s comment, cottonmouths are extremely rare in DFW. What people are seeing are harmless blotched water snakes, which are very similar and probably have an even worse disposition than cottonmouths (aka water moccasins). Leave them alone and they will do the same. Going around killing them is extremely ignorant.

      1. kittycat77 says:

        But they can be fatal, and are sometimes fatal. Just a few years ago there was some kind of law enforcement person that died from a copperhead bite. Don’t remember why. Then some guy died from a bite when a friend brought the snake over for him to check the sex of the copperhead. Apparently he could do that, but he was bit and died.

        Look, here’s my thing. And, yes, it’s true that people accidently are bitten many times from not meaning to step on them, or they’re digging around outside and don’t see them, regardless, kill the stupid venomous snake. I don’t care if it was an accident. It doesn’t matter. Mankind has rulership over the animals and the snakes anyway, and who the heck would want a venomous snake around to bite children, possibly kill them or someone else? That’s just total common sense. In my honest opinion, I say kill the snake. If you don’t and a child gets bitten, it could kill the child.

        When I was a little girl, I woke up one morning and went out in my backyard. At the time, I didn’t know what a snake was. I was too little to know. But my daddy was inside talking to a man, and I kept running back inside, Daddy, Daddy, come outside and see the pretty worm, please come outside. He’d say, go back outside, and I’ll be there when I’m finished here. So I went back out in the backyard. That pretty worm had its mouth open, would close, then open, but I knew that it had been hurt because I could see bite marks on it. And it would kind of open up its mouth, then close it, and I petted it on the head. Felt sorry for it.

        Finally, a little later after me going in and out of the house, my daddy came outside and pushed me to the ground. He said, did you touch this? Tell me, did you touch it? Well, I was crying because I thought that I did something wrong.

        I said, yes, Daddy, I petted its head. So he got the hoe and chopped it up into little pieces, and said to me, don’t you ever touch one of these again, and then he explained it was a very bad snake, a copperhead.

        So you see, a little child may not understand or know. It’s a miracle that it didn’t bite me because it was not completely dead yet. It was extremely injured.

  2. Kay says:

    My grandmother as a child was bit by a rattlesnake when no doctors where anywhere near to get help from. I believe they did try sucking some of the venom out but due to sores in her fathers mouth didn’t try very hard, but what saved her life is they put her leg in kerosine which drew the venom out. Bout 100 years ago. I’m not sure with all the additives they use today that would be wise and most of the time most locations you can get to a doctor in time.
    Like Mike said most snakes leave you alone if you leave them alone, yet if bitten and I didn’t know for sure it wasn’t poisionous I would kill it. If kids are in the area, call animal control to deal with it and don’t do it yourself unless you know what you are doing. My cat jumped over a snake on the way to the barn and all I saw before it took off was a copper color, I was only a couple of steps behind the cat. Didn’t attack the cat or me and looking for it didn’t come up with anything after I went to the house for boots.
    As for stings from bees, ants, scorpions, bull nettle, etc. I still soak a cotton ball in bleech and put it on it asap and it takes the pain away, then Benadryl also if it swells. Also look for stingers if its not a bite or plant. Hasn’t kille me yet, but I don’t get stung that often.

    1. kittycat77 says:


      My daddy, who at the time lived in West Texas when he was young, is deceased now, got bit by a cottonmouth. This was way before anti-venom. He had to go and bring some cows back home because there was a bad storm brewing. Back then they hardly had money for shoes and stuff, his father, my grandfather was a Methodist preacher. Their shoes they used for school, and he was barefooted to go and get those cattle through brush and stuff. His father was a schoolteacher and a Methodist minister, so back then they were poor.

      Well, he said that he was walking the cows through this little creek on their land that they had, and a cottonmouth nipped him on the calf of his leg. He passed away in 1971, so he was showing me the scar in like 1971 before he passed away, a few months before. He still had that scar on the lower back of one of his calves.

      So he knew that he got bit, but he managed to get the cows back home. He said that he didn’t remember much after that. He was sick for many days or a week or whatever or more. I honestly can’t recall, but I do recall that he said that the doc came out to their house and did something. Don’t know what.

  3. MikeR says:

    Curious, how did he get bit on the hand? Like Mike said copperheads are pretty much small and they can’t jump hardly at all. His hand would have pretty much been in it’s face or, uh, he was holding it. The kids were playing soccer so they weren’t little babies crawling on the ground. Sounds a little fishy to me.

    1. kittycat77 says:

      It really doesn’t matter. Just kill that stupid snake. What’s it doing around a kids’ area anyway? Keep in mind, no matter if you accidently come up on it, that shouldn’t matter. Those snakes can kill people, do kill people, and they can be fatal to a child.

      Sometimes with their colors, you can’t see them in brush and such, leaves. The man should not be guilty here, it’s the darn snake. Gain some common sense.

    2. kittycat77 says:


      You’re just not looking at things properly, I guess. Years ago when I worked in a hospital, they had a man come in with a copperhead bite. Was he picking it up, inspecting it? No, he was working in his shop and fell over some sawdust in his shop, the copperhead bit him then.

      People are really not using the common sense that our creator gave them. Which is just either get rid of the snake, give it to someone extracting the venom. Look, people accidently do fall over stuff. It happens every day. It could happen to you too! I say either kill the stupid venmous snake, which I would kill a scorpion too or a wasp, or give it to someone who can use the venom extraction thing. How hard is that?

      1. MikeR says:

        Yes, accidents happen and there’s no denial of that. They do all of the time. That wasn’t my point. The man is acting, or telling everybody, that it’s rather the snake’s fault.

        And what you said about killing the snake… exactly what I told a friend when we were discussing this same story. You either pull your kid away or simply kill it. I wouldn’t have killed it though. You don’t put your hand in the snake’s mouth as he’s saying he pretty much did. On another site, he said his kids were playing soccer and not sitting there as he says here to CBS 11. So my thoughts about him playing and/or picking the snake up become more believable IMO.

  4. kittycat77 says:

    Also, consider this folks, I just read something that happened in 2010 in Missouri, a man went to a Wal-Mart and bought some potting soil. He brought it home, was scooping out some soil and there was a copperhead in there that bit him on the finger. He had like $90,000+ medical bills. Something to watch for.

    Copperheads can hide with their colors and you won’t see them. Again, I say kill that sucker. They are no more beneficial that another snake that is truly beneficial and is not venomous. There are plenty of non-venomous snakes around to be so beneficial to mankind. Kill those dangerous suckers.

    1. MikeR says:

      Are you referring to Steven McGregor and the Miracle Gro?

      Those bags are vacuum pack sealed and travel thousands of miles from the supplier to the warehouses and then out to the stores. The man said it also sat unopened for several weeks. I highly doubt a snake of any kind would survive that.

      IMO this simply sounds like somebody wanting to fill their pockets with money other then their own. That’s just me though.

      1. kittycat77 says:

        Yes, I was referring to him, but I just read one story. It may be true what you said.

        I still say if you have a copperhead around, kill that sucker just like you’d squash a bad bug or a scorpion. I know that I would.

        Here’s the thing. A year or two ago, I saw a news thing about in Arlington or North Richland Hills. Not sure now. There was a playground with kids in a park area, and they had several copperheads coming around. It may have been North Richland Hills, honestly. The families in the area were wanting to have animal control come out and catch the copperheads.

        The stupid animal control lady said, oh, they have to be here to control the area like in mice, whatnot. I’m thinking, what an absolute idiot. Just get them out of there, and if they need to put in safer snakes that aren’t venomous, then so be it. Why would you allow dangerous snakes to be in a child’s play area anyway? That does not make sense, and yes, you can be killed by a copperhead.

        Anyway, one of the women in the story who lived in that area, said that her husband had been bitten by a copperhead that was in their garage, and it was by accident. He wasn’t trying to play with it. It was an element of surprise. But she said that he was in the hospital like 5 days or so. And since that time, they had killed several larger ones in their area, which they showed one, and it was huge. Yes, it was a large adult copperhead.

  5. Mike says:

    “kittycat77”, I’m sorry, but you have contributed nothing intelligent to this. You repeatedly say to kill them, which demonstrates nothing but ignorance. And I don’t care what you think, but copperheads are not deadly. I have studied them for years.

    1. kittycat77 says:

      You may have studied them for years, Mike, but they can surely kill someone. Sorry, maybe you need to go back and study some more! Kind regards.

      1. Mike says:

        I’m not going to sit here and argue with you. The people who have died from them were allergic to their venom. The same can happen to a person who is allergic to peanut butter as well. I’m tired of hearing your stories you heard from your dad and grandfather. They are meaningless. Please contact a biologist and they will verify my comment.

      2. Mike says:

        I have a few friends who are accredited biologists, one of whom works for the Texas Department of Health investigating animal bites such as rabies and snake bite cases, and the other is a herpetologist and is the biology professor at the University of Texas at Tyler. I myself have a scientific permit issued by Texas Parks and Wildlife and contribute data on a volunteer basis and have done so for many years. I primarily acquire locale data and abundancy of venomous snakes near urban areas here in DFW. Copperheads are abundant here in Arlington, especially along the Trinity River. Out of the hundreds of copperheads I have seen, none were aggressive until I harrassed them. If you believe that they should be killed, that’s your opinion, but repeating it over and over isn’t helping your cause or making you look any more intelligent.

  6. chris.p. says:

    this cat lady is crazy. just leave em alone

  7. MikeR says:

    Kitty, I’m not at all saying copperheads haven’t bitten people. They have and never have I said otherwise. It’s simply the fact that this guy has said two, or more, different stories here and he was bitten on his hand while the kids where not near him.

    I mean think about this. He’s over playing volleyball. The kids are either sitting on the bench or playing soccer(which ever was true) and away from him. Kids supposedly see a snake. By the time he would have gotten there the kids would have been up and away from the snake. He wouldn’t have been picking kids up off of the ground with his hands that close to the snake.

    The likeliness of a fatal death of a copperhead is 1:5000 meaning the number of deaths in the U.S. is, well, so rare that you’re almost as likely to die by a pedalcyclist killing you.

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