Venomous snake bites woman in basement of Mt. Penn home

Snake determined to be adolescent copperhead

MT. PENN, Pa. - A woman was met with quite the surprise in the basement of her home in Berks County on Tuesday.

The woman was walking down the basement stairs to do laundry shortly before 8 a.m., when she encountered a snake sitting atop the foundation wall.

"The snake was right there on the ledge. [It] jumped out and bit her on the arm," said Det. Deron Manndel, Central Berks Regional Police Department. "Not very common in your home."

Paramedics responded to a 911 call from the home in the 2400 block of Fairview Avenue in Mt. Penn and took the woman to Reading Hospital. She was last reported to be in good condition and should be allowed to go home tomorrow, according to her boyfriend, Harry Sleigel.

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission also responded and removed the snake, which was subsequently identified as an adolescent copperhead, one of only three venomous snakes common to Pennsylvania.

The area rests at the base of Neversink Mountain, a spot that one snake expert says has lots of these venomous reptiles.

"That is a common area," said Jason Carter, president of Fur & Feathers Wildlife Control. "Points north of the Lehigh Valley are a common breeding ground for your venomous snakes, especially northern copperheads and timber rattlesnakes."

One expert says snakes are normally not aggressive, but they will defend themselves.

Officials said in this case, the snake may have ventured inside the home in an effort to escape the wet outdoors.

"I'm gonna be checking now," Sleigel said. "I went down right after it happened."

Officials with the Fish and Boat Commission added that the copperhead's bite is seldom life-threatening as long as the victim receives medical treatment in prompt fashion.

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