You wouldn’t expect that walking into a chain restaurant while wearing sandals would be dangerous, but a woman in Virginia was bitten by a common venomous snake in the lobby of a LongHorn Steakhouse two weeks ago.
The woman recounted the incident and her recovery to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, and says that she was visiting the restaurant for a dinner with some friends and family.
She reports that in the restaurant entrance, she felt a sharp pain in her foot that she assumed was a bee sting. As she reached down to brush the bee off, she says that she “felt something moving.” That “something” was a copperhead snake, which had just been hanging out in the lobby.
Her son and her boyfriend stomped on the snake after she shook it loose from her foot, but it had already bitten her foot and toes three times. The rest of their party had dinner while she and her boyfriend waited for emergency services to arrive, and LongHorn comped all of their meals.
The hospital obtained antivenin for copperhead bites, but waited to use it until the swelling passed her ankle, since antivenin itself can have serious and even fatal side effects.
She’s expected to recover fully, but says that she’s in significant pain and can’t return to work. That’s still a relatively happy ending for being bitten three times by a venomous snake.
“If you’re going to be bitten by a venomous snake, that’s the one you want to get bitten by,” a medical toxicologist at the local poison control center told the Free Lance-Star.
Copperheads are common in Virginia, and the snake could have squeezed through any tiny opening in the restaurant wall.
“This was a highly unusual incident, and we are working with our facilities team to see how this may have occurred and we are taking steps to prevent it from happening again,” the restaurant’s manager told the paper.
There isn’t much a building can do to keep them out, but the restaurant manager plans to place irritants on the ground that get beneath a snake’s scales and helps repel them.