Copperhead Snake Bites 8-Year-Old Georgia Girl

Mike Bolton | May 15, 2023

Southerlyn Fisher, 8, was bitten on the foot by a copperhead snake but is expected to make a full recovery.

An 8-year-old Villa Rica girl is home from the hospital and recovering after being bit by a copperhead snake near her home.

Quick action by her mother, and by her 9-year brother, who is being hailed as a hero, are credited with the girl’s recovery.

Southerlyn Fisher was playing at Lamar Moody Lake on May 8 with her brother, Bently. She suddenly collapsed to the ground after feeling a sharp pain in her foot. The older brother picked her up off the ground and carried her approximately 100 yards to their home.

There, the mother, Wendy, found two fang bites and rushed her to the hospital. Wendy is a 911 dispatcher for the Villa Rica Police Department.

“She thought she had just stepped on something,” her mother said. “She never saw a snake.”

Southerlyn said she was playing on some rocks when she felt a terrific pain.

“At first it was burning and then it felt like something was nibbling my foot off,” she told Fox 5 in Atlanta. “It hurt a lot.”

Southerlyn’s foot was already swollen by the time her brother got her home. Her mother was calm until her daughter let out a large scream. That’s when she discovered the fang marks.

“She kept saying that she didn’t want to die,” her mother said. “I was scared it was going to end bad.”

Doctors at Tanner Medical Center in Villa Rica diagnosed the bite as coming from a copperhead and began anti-venin. She suffered swelling in her leg which eventually traveled up her leg within 2 inches of her knee. Had the swelling reached her knee, another dose of anti-venin would have been required, her mother said.

Southerlyn’s mom says she’s a trooper. By May 10, the swelling in Southerlyn’s leg had gone down and she began to get color back in her foot. The foot was still bruised and swollen, but she was sent home and expected to make a full recovery. She has follow-up visits scheduled with her primary care physician.

Southerlyn’s bite prompted DNR to warn parents to be on the lookout for venomous snakes this time of the year. Copperheads are plentiful in Georgia, but bites are rare, especially to the feet.  Only 13% occur on the legs or feet. Most bites occur when people try to handle them.

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