Mountain Brook girl recounts being bitten by copperhead

(WIAT) — Anna Claire Pledger is being hailed as something of a hero after she protected her two younger siblings from a copperhead snake that bit her.  “I thought it was a twig or bush or something at first,” the 8 year-old explained.

The children were playing in the woods near Mountain Brook Junior High School while their father and brothers were at football practice.  Anna Claire said when she realized a snake had bitten her, she told her siblings to run.  She wasn’t sure what kind of snake it was–or if it was dangerous.

“I went the wrong way so I had to jump over it,” she explained, “and that’s when it bit me again.”

Anna Claire and her siblings ran out of the woods to their father.  One woman called 911 while another father went into the woods to try and identify the snake.  Anna Claire would spend the next three days in the hospital.

“My mind raced and went to the worst case scenario,” explained Anna Claire’s mother, Maryann Pledger.  “I thought, oh my God, is she going to die?  Is she going to lose her foot or her fingers or whatever–wherever she’s been bit?”

Pledger explained that the doctors and nurses at Children’s of Alabama were exceptional during their stay at the hospital.  “There’s already a procedure in place for children coming in with snakebites, which is kind of reassuring but also kind of scary because this happens so often.”

Copperheads aren’t uncommon in Mountain Brook.  In fact, Pledger said that people post pictures of them all the time–especially during the summer on the Mountain Brook Facebook page.  Her daughter’s nurse said that Anna Claire was the third child that he had treated with a snakebite this year–and that all of the children were coming in from Mountain Brook.

“We knew that there was a problem with copperheads in Mountain Brook,” she said.  “We’ve known this.  It’s not new.”

Pledger said she wished that she had talked to her daughter more about what to do if she came across a snake.  She’s encouraging more parents in the area to do it now.

“We talk about stay away from strangers if you don’t know them and having a safe word,” she explained.  “Maybe we also need to be adding to the conversation to talk about what happens if you do see a snake.”

Both mother and daughter said that they’ve been blown away by the support that they’ve received.  “I mean–my village,” said Pledger.  “I can’t say thank you enough.”

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