Mom Issues Warning After Finding Copperhead in Baby's Stroller
According to this Tennessee parent, you'll want to take a few precautions.
Regardless of how you feel about snakes, you never want to find one hiding somewhere unexpected. It's especially disconcerting to stumble on one of these creatures in a precarious spot—and even more so when that snake is venomous. One Tennessee couple just learned this the hard way when they found a copperhead snake in their baby's stroller. Read on for an urgent warning the child's mother is now sharing with other parents.
The stroller had been left in the garage.
Autumn and Tyler Maidlow, of Greenbrier, Tennessee, shared their story with Fox 17 News. According to Autumn, she went to the grocery store, and Tyler took the baby out for a walk in their wagon (a type of stroller with an open top), leaving the garage open.
"I got home with groceries and he put the wagon in the garage and we took our baby out. We brought in our groceries and ate dinner, which took about 30 minutes," Autumn said, noting that after they ate, she asked her husband to get something from their car.
That was when things took a terrifying turn. When Tyler re-entered the garage, he noticed the copperhead in the wagon. Autumn told Fox 17 News that the snake also became aggressive.
"He walked past the wagon and when he walked back in, he noticed the snake on the ledge of the wagon and right when he looked at it, it struck at him and he jumped back and hit my car," Autumn shared.
She issued a word of caution to other parents.
While the couple was certainly startled, they were glad they discovered the copperhead before their next walk with their baby. In light of the experience, Autumn also issued a warning to fellow parents.
"Keep your garage door closed, don't keep blankets, toys or anything that would obstruct your view in anything your child goes in, keep garage clear and clean, and pay attention to your surroundings!" she told Fox 17 News.
Here's how to spot a copperhead.
Even if you don't have young children, you don't want to come face-to-face with a copperhead—so it's worth learning how to spot one.
Copperheads are large snakes, growing anywhere from 24 to 36 inches in length as adults. You can recognize a copperhead by its "large, triangular-shaped coppery-red head and vertical pupils," according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), as well as their distinct "hourglass" crossbands. Their bodies vary in color, but are typically light brown or gray.
Copperheads prefer a forested habitat, per the TWRA, but—as the Maidlow family learned—they can also be found in urban and suburban areas.
And here's what to do if you encounter one.
It's worth noting that copperhead venom "is not very potent so fatalities from bites are extremely rare," per the TWRA, but that doesn't make them any less frightening.
In the event a copperhead crosses your path, Hunker recommends turning the other way and giving the copperhead "a wide berth."
When it comes to managing those you encounter, laws vary from state to state. In Tennessee, it's illegal to catch, kill, or keep snakes you find in the wild, even if they're venomous, Hunker notes. However, there are some exceptions.
According to For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue, a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, you are permitted to kill a snake if it's "posing a real threat to your safety." Autumn Maidlow said that her husband did end up killing the copperhead that struck at him.