Missouri Man Dies After Being Bitten by Copperhead Snake

Missouri Man Dies After Being Bitten by Copperhead Snake

A Missouri man died on Tuesday night after he was bitten by a copperhead snake while he was camping with his family in the southeastern part of the state. Timothy Levins, age 52, had made camp in the Sam A. Baker State Park, explained Sheriff Dean Finch of Wayne County.

Levins and his son had been walking when they noticed the snake. For some reason, Levins decided to pick it up, which was said to be about 20 inches long, after which the snake bit him two or three times. Media reports then state that the man went back to his cabin and washed his hand off at the kitchen sink and then sat down on a couch.

It was next stated by the media that according to Levins’ daughter, age 13, that within two to three minutes, her father had begun to shake uncontrollably. When Levins became sick, a person from a nearby cabin hurried over to provide help and gave CPR. However Levins was later pronounced deceased at a local hospital and numerous media outlets reported him as dying on July 8 at around 7 p.m. The county coroner ruled that Levins died because of anaphylactic shock due to the snakebite.

In Missouri’s recorded state history, there have only been three deaths which have happened from copperhead snake bites, including Levins. The Missouri Department of Conservation stated that snakebite is just above falling space debris in ranking as being a threat to human life. The Missouri Poison Center chronicled nearly 600 venomous snakebites in the 1990’s, which equaled out to around 85 per year but none of them proved to be fatal. The last two recorded deaths from copperhead bites in the state were in the 1960’s and in 2012.

There are around 45 species of snakes in the state, and out of them only five are venomous. Of these, there are the cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, massasauga rattlesnake and of course the copperhead. Out of all the deadly snakes, venom from the cottonmouth is the least toxic, states the Missouri Department of Conservation.

A spokesperson for the conservation department, spoke to the media, and said that usually copperhead bites were not fatal. They do not have the strongest venom. Most of the time, when a death occurs, it is because the individual probably had additional health conditions or a stronger reaction to the venom than the majority of people.

There are about 100 people who are bitten by snakes in Missouri every year, with around 25 percent of them being non-venomous. Many snake bite victims are men in their early to middle 20’s and the bites happened when the person attempted to either pick up the snake or kill it.

The spokesperson explained that Levins death was a very unfortunate event but people need to realize that if they see a snake, to leave it alone. Even if someone is curious, if he or she cannot identify it, do not pick up the snake. Do not pick it up even if it can be identified. It is much better to stay safe.

Repeating: a Missouri man died on Tuesday night after he was bitten by a copperhead snake while he was camping with his family in the southeastern part of the state.

By Kimberly Ruble


The Washington Times

USA Today

ABC News

6 Responses to "Missouri Man Dies After Being Bitten by Copperhead Snake"

  1. Ken   July 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Well researched article, I thought I knew a lot about snakes but now know more. Might add that they provide a key balance to nature which is another reason not to disturb them. Some cottonmouth I have come across will not move out of the way, I go way around.

    • Kimberly Ruble   July 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Thank you very much Ken. Please be careful out there when you are hiking.

  2. Mitch   July 16, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Wow, a snakebite news article that is well-informed, accurate, and doesn’t over-sensationalize the events. A rarity indeed! Nicely done.

    • Kimberly Ruble   July 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Thank you for reading Mitch. It is much appreciated.

  3. Kimberly Ruble   July 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you Mike. I appreciate you taking the time to respond and for reading.

    –Kim Ruble

  4. Mike Pingleton   July 15, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Kimberly Ruble, I appreciate your well-written account – other articles I read about this incident were poorly written and given over to sensationalism. Keep up the good, solid work! -Mike

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