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      Snake strikes parking monitor in downtown Columbia

      <font size="2">A City of Columbia parking enforcement monitor was bitten by snake.</font>
      COLUMBIA (WACH) - A City of Columbia parking enforcement monitor was bitten by snake.

      Parking Services Director John Spade tells WACH Fox the parking enforcement monitor was bitten by a Copperhead while working near the intersection of Washington and Sumter Street on the May 6.

      Spade said the parking enforcer was given an anti-venom serum and is expected to make a full recovery.

      "We put the snake in a bag," said Ronald Mangum, who helped the parking enforcement monitor to a nearby hospital.

      Mangum said he was getting his wife lunch at J. Gumbo's when he noticed the lady standing there with a snake in her hand.

      "The lady was very calm for the most part," added Mangum. "She made mention that she played with snakes as a child."

      "Downtown Columbia would be an abnormal place for a Copperhead to be," said Riverbanks Zoo curator of herpetology Scott Pfaff.

      Pfaff says typically you would find a copperhead in the deep woods or areas around water because frogs are one of their main food items.

      "Like all snakes Copperheads are very much afraid of people, they want to stay away from us and bites from them are actually uncommon," adds Pfaff.

      While Pfaff says finding a Copperhead in downtown is rare, he says places that may attract them are vacant lots and train tracks with the banks of the Congaree river close by.

      "Snakes always need food and they need shelter and that's not something they're going to find in a built up urban area," adds Pfaff.

      The curator of herpetology feels this was a rare incident and says there is no reason to be on guard while walking through downtown Columbia.

      Pfaff points out Copperheads are the most common venomous snake in South Carolina and you'll find them on the coast all the way to the mountains.

      "There are probably more snakes around then you think there are but because they hide so well and try to stay away from us we don't see them," said Pfaff.