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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 05-30-2019, 03:51 PM   #1
Alabama man dies days after copperhead snake bite

An Alabama man died days after a copperhead snake bit him as he walked his new puppy, according to a new report.

Oliver “Chum” Baker, 52, of Tuscaloosa, was outside on his stone patio walking his Labrador on Friday when he told his family members that he had just been bitten by the venomous snake, reported. The snake was still coiled up outside the back door.

It was a matter of minutes before Baker fell unconscious, and a relative gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until paramedics arrived.

He was initially supposed to be airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, but wasn’t stable enough to fly, according to the report.

Medics brought him in an ambulance to another hospital, until he was ultimately airlifted to Huntsville Hospital. But it was too late.

The snake’s venom caused a severe allergic reaction, which led to anaphylactic shock and ultimately cardiac arrest, the outlet reported. He was unable to recover, and died on Memorial Day.

“It was a whole chain of events,” Oliver’s uncle Reb Baker told the outlet. “His organs just couldn’t recover.”

Baker was the youngest son of Dr. Charlie Baker, a Northport radiologist, and his wife, Pat, according to the report. He leaves behind his wife, Marilou Briney Baker, and sons Charlie, a new high school graduate, and Walden, 12.

Professionally, he handled water control for the city of Northport.

“He would go way out of his way to help everybody,” his brother said. “He never wanted accolades. Everybody loved him. It’s just unbelievable.”

Copperheads are among the more common North American snakes — found throughout the eastern and central United States from Connecticut to Kansas and Florida to western Texas, according to research by Pennsylvania State University’s biology department.

They bite more people in the US than any other venomous snake — and though the bite is extremely painful, it is usually not life-threatening for healthy adults, the research said.

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