Sandra Bowyer was bitten by a Copperhead this past Monday evening, July 2 at her home in Great Oaks. Bowyer was bitten around 4 pm Monday evening, and was quickly taken to the ICU at University Hospital, where she remains as of press day.
“They are giving her antivenin and lots of antibiotics right now,” said her son Daniel Bowyer.
“They are marking where the venom has gotten to. The tip of her finger turned black, and the doctor says it is going to rot off. The swelling has gotten up to her elbow, but it has not deteriorated that tissue–just the tip of her finger.”
“Copperhead venom deteriorates your flesh, it literally will start rotting flesh of your bones if not treated. Then doctors have to amputate areas where the tissue has deteriorated from the venom,” Bowyer adds.
“Ironically my mom was installing a solar device that’s supposed to scare snakes away,” said Daniel Bowyer. “She was installing it in the ground next to the water faucet that she uses everyday to water her plants. She has always been scared to death of snakes and is the most cautious member of our family when it comes to being cautious about snakes. She was pushing the device into the ground when the snake bit her. It was hidden under the leaves right under the water faucet.”
“She was very lucky because it bit her right on the tip of her finger and thinks that only one fang got her. My dad and youngest daughter rushed her to the hospital in Hondo where they gave her some antivenin, and they rushed her to University Hospital in San Antonio.”
Copperheads are no stranger to the Bowyer family, who says they’ve only seen one Rattlesnake in 20 years, but plenty of Copperheads.
“We live in Great Oaks too, and I kill at least 2 Copperheads every year, sometimes more,” Bowyer said. “They love that sand and they love the leaves. Their pattern matches those Black Jack Oak leaves perfectly, and that’s where they like to hide. They get right underneath those leaves.”
“Cats do help. We have seen less Copperheads at our house since we got a good cat. We have four cats now, and I still find Copperheads, but they are usually farther out, not right by the house anymore,” Bowyer said. “My parents only have one cat at their house, and mom doesn’t like the cat to get into her plants. Unfortunately that’s the area snakes like to hide too.”
Another Great Oaks homeowner adds that cats have been a great snake deterrent for them too.
“We have only seen two Copperheads on our property in 20 years, but we have 8 cats around the house.”
Every year at the Devine Fall Festival, Mr. Blaine Eaton has a great display of snakes. He has lots of different reptiles each year, but there is one exhibit he always has– “I always have a Copperhead displayed on Oak leaves for the kids to see—so people can see how well they camouflage. Normally, they hide under the leaves with only their heads exposed, waiting for prey to walk by. That’s how a lot of people get bit,” Eaton said.