The idea of a venomous snake resting in a pile of toys is the stuff of nightmares for parents — and that’s exactly what one family from west Tennessee says became reality.
Kate Gardner Foust recounted how her 19-month-old daughter, Emmy Joe, was bitten on the ankle by the copperhead and had to be rushed to an emergency room. The family lives in Jackson, about 90 miles northeast of Memphis.
“(The snake was) hiding right beside our back door with her toys,” Foust wrote in her Oct. 14 post, which has received 142,000 reactions, 3,100 comments and 250,000 shares as of Nov. 2.
“We were both hoping it was a (nonvenomous) chicken snake but when (her husband) Logan went back and moved the toys, his heart immediately dropped into his stomach. ... When asked at the hospital what Logan killed it with, he said he didn’t even know. The first thing he saw. Adrenaline was kicking,” she wrote.
Copperhead venom rarely causes death in humans, but children “may have strong reactions to the venom,” according to LiveScience. Symptoms can include “shock, low blood pressure (and) weakness,” according to Healthline.
A babysitter was in the home at the time of the bite and found the snake after the girl “started screaming,” according to WSMV. “She was vomiting, just in a lot of pain,” Foust told the station. Emmy Joe spent the next two days in a hospital.
The family shared photos of the girl’s leg on Facebook, showing it swollen and bruised. They also posted a photo of the dead snake, which appeared to be about 2.5-feet long.
Foust, an elementary school teacher, said in an update her daughter “is doing much better” though “her leg is still a little sensitive.”
The Facebook post also included a warning to other parents.
“Please, please check your kids toys before they go outside to play,” she wrote. “This has been a very hard and emotional process for both of us. Seeing your baby in pain knowing their is nothing you can do is one of the hardest things to do as a parent.”