A 21-year-old New Jersey man is recovering at home after he was bit by a copperhead snake, landing him in the hospital for three days.
Kevin Murray of Pennington tells Daily Voice he was two minutes from his car on the way back from a sunset hike at Baldpate Mountain in Titusville when he felt a stinging sensation in his left ankle on Aug. 5.
"At first I thought it was a bee or a wasp," he said. "I fell down and looked around, that’s when I saw the snake and put things together."
Being that venomous snakes are uncommon in New Jersey, Murray thought he wouldn't have to worry about the injury too much.
But things quickly got worse.
"I fell down and it felt difficult to walk on," said Murray, a rising junior at Loyola University Maryland. "My friends helped carry me to the car and I called my dad to see what I should do."
About 20 minutes later, Murray was pulling into the emergency room at Capital Health in Pennington.
Murray showed hospital staff the photo of the snake but even they weren't sure if it was venomous.
When they determined it was a copperhead snake, Murray was moved to the ICU, where he would remain for the next 20 hours.
"They were checking on me every 15 minutes, making sure I could feel my foot and move my ankle," he recalled. "They were also making sure the venom wasn't going to spread to my heart."
Murray spent much of his three-day hospital stay researching snakes.
According to Snakes of New Jersey, the state has 20 non venomous snake species and only two venomous species: Timber rattlesnakes and copperheads.
Murray, who was discharged from the hospital on Sunday on crutches, considers himself lucky that he has no long-term side effects.
"All things considered this could've been a lot worse," he said. "I'm less scared of snakes now. Worst case scenario is I get bit again -- and that would make me an anomaly."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.