A Berks County woman was on her way to do laundry when she encountered a surprise guest in her basement, police say.
Judy Reed descended the stairs of her Mount Penn home Tuesday morning to clean some clothes. A copperhead snake was there, and the 2-foot-long adolescent reptile bit her on the left arm above the elbow.
Reed quickly called 911 and was transported to the hospital. When police arrived, they contacted the state Fish and Boat Commission, which trapped the snake in a bag and relocated it to a safe spot outdoors, Detective Sgt. Deron Manndel of the Central Berks Regional Police Department told CNN.
Reed’s house sits at the base of a mountain, and the snake was most likely trying to escape the recent spate of rainy weather, police said.
Copperhead venom is not potent, according to the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.
“(Copperhead snakes) are venomous, but it’s very rare that a bite from a copperhead is fatal unless you don’t get treatment right away,” Manndel said. “But she went right to the hospital.”
Manndel said copperheads are pretty common around the area. The snakes live throughout the Eastern and central United States.
“Most snake bites occur when someone tries to kill or harass a snake, so the best way to avoid a bite is to leave any snake you find alone,” the laboratory says.
Police said the woman was in stable condition as of Tuesday night at Reading Hospital.