CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The death of a St. Charles, Missouri man last week marked the third recorded fatality from a copperhead bite in Missouri.
The man got bit while camping with his family at Sam A. Baker State Park.
Experts say copperhead fatalities are so rare because their venom is not strong enough to kill humans. Problems can arise if the venom reacts with the individual.
"It's not from the actual bite its because they had a previous medical condition," said Missouri conservation agent Sara Turner.
If you happen to come upon a venomous snake the best thing to do is respect the snakes distance.
"If you see a snake just back off and give it space. When it sees you it will most likely freeze to try and keep you from seeing it, even though you may have already seen it," Turner said. "Or it will try to escape."
If you do get bitten, Turner recommends making a mental note of the snake in case you need to describe it to medical professionals later.
"We've been coming here for over fifty years," Bobbie said. And they've seen plenty of copperhead snakes.
"We've had them come into or camp before, we've had them in the water with us," Bobbie said.
Even though it's one of five venomous snakes in missouri a copperhead's bite normally isn't enough to hurt you.
"If it's not very severe they won't even give them anti-venom," Missouri conservation agent Sara Turner said.
It's usually a reaction to the bite, not the venom itself that can be harmful.
"It's not from the actual bite its because they had a previous medical condition," Turner said.
Turner says it's not a good idea to provoke any snake but being able to identify venomous ones cold help.
"The pattern of scales will be the same on both sides," Turner said.
Turner says 200 people get bit by copperheads in Missouri each year.
But there are ways to prevent it.
"teach your kids to be aware," Turner said. "You know make noise."
These folks say they aren't going to let snakes keep them from enjoying the park.