81-Year-Old Woman Gets Rare January Snake Bite

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FENTON, MO (KTVI) -- The roller coaster temperatures in St. Louis may be one reason why an elderly woman was bitten by venomous snake.  

Julia Fieser, 81, was hospitalized after being bitten by a snake Tuesday afternoon.  Fieser explains, "Scared. I didn't know what was going to happen you know. They're fast. They bite you, then they're just gone."

The Fenton woman was getting wood from a pile in her backyard.  When she reached for one piece, what's believed to be a copperhead attacked, biting her on the finger. 

Fieser said she never cared for snakes, "I just almost panic, you know. I have killed a couple, but I shake all over after it's done. So I'm scared of them, yeah."

Her son rushed to her St. Clare`s Health Center.  Doctors and nurses monitored the situation closely to make sure the venom did not spread up her arm.  It didn't. No anti-venom medicine was needed.

Carla Zigaitis is a nurse at St. Clare, "With the weird weather we've been having it's a wonder we haven't been seeing more of them."

The warm weather can make snakes more active.  Snake bites are extremely unusual in January, but conservation experts are not surprised where it happened.  Dan Zarlenga works for the Missouri Department of Conservation, "Snakes commonly live in places like wood piles, rock piles, brush piles. It's a good habitat for them."

Fieser said the bite was painful, "Have you been stung by a wasp or something like that? Well, just multiply that by ten maybe. I mean it hits hard."

She was released from the hospital Wednesday.  The Poison Control Center at Cardinal Glennon reports no venomous snakes bites in January in the last five years.

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