Environment

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

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.”

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.

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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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