PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - A metro area sheriff's office is warning residents to watch their step because of a rise in snakebites statewide.
The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office sent out the warning after a copperhead was photographed on the side of the Silver Comet Trail.
Deputies say they know the trail will be a popular location over the holiday weekend and they want to make sure people are checking their surroundings.
“In the picture we posted, you can barely tell where the snake was. It was so well camouflaged. We want to bring awareness that these snakes are out there and you need to be careful,” Sgt. Ashley Henson said.
The sheriff's office is urging folks to keep their eyes peeled, and says sticking to the trail may be the best policy since snake sightings are also way up.
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Paulding County says because so many big snakes are crossing paths with people this year, it's assigned a deputy to special snake detail.
“Unlike myself, he’s not afraid of snakes. He is the one we call when we have these incidents,” Henson said.
The “he” that Henson is referring to is Deputy Jamie Winkles.
Winkles says as long as he can remember, he’s been the man for the job.
“Since I was little, I was always in the woods. Always turning over rocks and lifting logs looking for whatever I could get my hands on,” he said.
Just the other day, he caught a non-venomous rat snake on a woman’s porch, and was bitten in the process.
“He was a little angry that day. He didn’t want me messing with him. That was after I relocated him to a safe place,” Winkles said. “I was just trying to nudge him with my foot. Get him going off in another direction. He decided he wanted to taste my pants leg."
Poison control says the state is on pace to break its snakebite record set last year, which was more than 500. So far this year, there have been 60 bites.
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