A 12-year-old girl was bitten by a venomous copperhead snake Monday evening in the Oakville area, sending her to the hospital overnight and keeping her out of school for two days.
Zaynah Masri went just up the street from her parent’s house to ask her grandmother, Sharon Callahan, to come to dinner that evening. While there, Zaynah was going to help her grandmother feed her horses.
Zaynah “was getting ready to lift the tarp up to get the hay out,” her mother, Christy Masri, said. “He struck and he got her. Luckily, he didn’t release enough venom,” she said of the copperhead.
Zaynah was wearing flip-flops when she was bitten on the foot. “She thought she was stung by a bee initially,” her mother said.
Then the excruciating pain began. “My mom pulled the tarp and saw it was a copperhead,” Christy Masri said.
The family called for an ambulance and Zaynah’s father, Jamel Masri, killed the snake, which went along on the trip to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown for identification. “The doctor on call took a picture of the snake and sent it to poison control,” which confirmed it was a copperhead, Christy Masri said.
While Zaynah was kept overnight at the hospital to monitor her foot’s swelling, the bite was not bad enough to warrant anti-venom, Christy Masri said.
Zaynah was on crutches this week from the bite, but she returned to school at Leonardtown Middle on Thursday. “She can’t wait to get back to school to tell her friends about her exciting weekend,” Christy Masri said Wednesday.
“I’m hoping we don’t see any more [copperheads] this summer,” she said.
The Maryland Poison Control Center has logged seven instances of copperhead bites in Maryland so far this year: one in Anne Arundel County, three in Calvert and three in St. Mary’s. Typically there are 40 to 60 venomous snake bites reported each year in the state, said Dr. Bruce Anderson, director of operations, but the center doesn’t track calls made in Prince George’s or Montgomery counties.
“When the weather warms up, that’s when we start getting calls,” he said, when cold-blooded snakes start moving around.
Maryland has two kinds of venomous snakes — copperheads and timber rattlesnakes, which are occasionally found in the mountains in the western part of the state.
“Copperheads are fairly common in Maryland,” Anderson said. And usually people who encounter them don’t know it until it’s too late. “They don’t have that same warning mechanism that rattlesnakes do,” he said.
In cases of poisoning, overdoses and medication information call 800-222-1222, he said.