18-year-old hospitalized after venomous snake bite

REIDSVILLE, N.C. — An 18-year-old has been hospitalized after being bitten by a pet rattlesnake inside a Reidsville home Monday night.

Kameron Burgess, 18, of Ruffin, was bitten inside the home on Auburn Street by a Canebrake Rattlesnake while he was visiting a friend.

Burgess’ friend, who lives at the residence, has a collection of venomous snakes, including an Eyelash Viper, Gaboon Viper, Rhino Viper, Brazilian Lance Head, Mojave Desert Side Winder, Puff Adder Viper, Southern Copperhead, Neotropical Rattlesnake, Monocled Cobra and a Costa Rican Jumping Viper.

The boys were returning the snake to its enclosure when it bit Burgess on the arm.

He was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital for treatment. As of Tuesday afternoon, he was listed in good condition.

Though native to some parts of North Carolina, it is illegal to keep a Canebrake Rattlesnake as a pet without a permit to do so. Also, keeping dangerous animals, such as venomous reptiles, is a violation of Rockingham County’s Animal Control Ordinance.

Kaleb Williamson, 18, of Reidsville, was cited for being in violation of the Rockingham County animal ordinance. The fine for the violation is $50.

“No venomous snake is a pet—period,” said Chad Griffin, with CCSB Reptile Rescue and Rehab Center.

Griffin says the rattlesnake, native to our foothills and mountains, is on the endanger species list because of growth and people who capture them for pets.

Capturing the animals keeps them from breading in the wild and helping control rodents populations.

“Because of wild capturing and habitat destination we are starting to see a lot of these species go into some decline,” Griffin said.

N.C. Wildlife will likely seize the Canebrake Rattlesnake and the other snakes in order to relocate them somewhere outside the county.


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