Man dies in Huntsville after copperhead bite

Outdoor Alabama says copperheads are not known for being aggressive

Posted: May 28, 2019 3:41 PM
Updated: May 28, 2019 10:44 PM

A man died at Huntsville Hospital after being bitten by a copperhead on Friday.

Huntsville Hospital on Tuesday confirmed Oliver Baker died on Monday.

Southern Copperhead (Photo by Richard Dowling)

Juvenile Copperhead (Photo by Richard Dowling)

A Facebook post from a man who says he's Baker’s brother says Baker was bitten Friday night at the family lake house on Smith Lake. The brother said Baker went unconscious within two minutes of being bitten, and that Baker was flown to Huntsville Hospital because there were no beds available at UAB.

An ambulance service that operates out of Walker County said it responded to a snake bite call over the weekend.

The brother says Baker had renal failure and high liver levels.

Local outdoorsman Charles Thorpe has thousands of hiking miles under his belt. He said he's never heard of someone dying from a copperhead bite, and he tries to look out for snakes when he's outside.

"Try not to put your hands and feet in places you can't see. Step over a log or something I like to peek over the log to make sure there's nothing on the other side before I step down on it," Thorpe said.

What makes this death so rare, according to Outdoor Alabama, is that copperheads have the least-toxic venom of all known venomous snakes in the country. Also, they're not known for being aggressive.

When we told ecologist Tanner Stainbrook what happened, he had a lot of questions.

"Did he have an allergic reaction? Hypersensitivity to the venom. Did he have a cardiovascular collapse that lead to multiple organ failure?" Stainbrook said.

Watch WAAY 31 for updates on air and online for updates

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