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Snake bite kills man who was walking his puppy, Alabama family says

‘Just assume they’re all venomous’: Expert talks about snakebites

Stephen Thornton, medical director of the Poison Control Center at the KU Health System, talks about how to avoid snakebites, how they're treated and what they can do to the human body.
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Stephen Thornton, medical director of the Poison Control Center at the KU Health System, talks about how to avoid snakebites, how they're treated and what they can do to the human body.

An Alabama man died days after he was bitten by a snake, his family said.

Oliver “Chum” Baker was at a vacation home on Smith Lake with family for the Memorial Day holiday weekend when the snake attack occurred, WIAT reported.

The 52-year-old Tuscaloosa man was taking his Labrador puppy for a walk on Saturday when he was bitten by a copperhead, which “was still coiled up outside the back door” after the attack, according to AL.com.

Baker was unconscious two minutes after suffering the bite, his brother, Reb Baker, said in a Facebook post that included a meme saying “I lost my brother/best friend.”

Dr. David C. Smith says this is a particularly bad season for poisonous snakes and offers advice to keep from getting bit.

Baker’s brother performed CPR on him before he was taken to a hospital in Jasper and eventually airlifted to another one in Huntsville, per WIAT.

That is where Baker was pronounced dead Monday, with his family saying “the venom from the snake bite caused anaphylactic shock and cardiac arrest,” according to Tuscaloosa News.

“His organs just couldn’t recover,” Reb Baker said, AL.com reported.

In addition to his brother, Baker is survived by his wife Marilou and sons Charlie, 18, and Walden, 12, according to a GoFundMe campaign that was set up to support his family.

A memorial service will be held Friday for the University of Alabama graduate, who worked for the City of Northport, per his obituary on Legacy.com.

The copperhead is one of six venomous snakes found in Alabama, along with the cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, Eastern coral snake and Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, Outdoor Alabama reported.

According to the University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, the odds of dying from a snake bite in the U.S. are 1-in-50 million, which is about five or six deaths a year. More people die on an average annual basis from spider bites; dog attacks; hornet, wasp or bee stings; and lightning strikes than snake bites, the university said.

Rattlesnakes may be waking up in the foothills around Fresno. Experts from the Poison Control System and Fresno Chaffee Zoo shared tips about how to deal with them, including what to do about a bite.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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