Don't freak out, but a venomous copperhead snake was found at East Potomac Park on May 22. The snake caused no injuries, but National Park Service encourages people to stay alert.You can see a lot of sights while walking along the National Mall, but one you might not be prepared for is a venomous snake. The National Park Service announced in a Facebook post on May 22 that a venomous northern copperhead snake was found in East Potomac Park by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The NPS says:
"Yesterday we spotted a northern copperhead in East Potomac Park. Although they are infrequently seen at the National Mall, they are common in the Nation’s Capital. Copperheads are known to expand their home range this time of year in search of mates. They are the only venomous snakes in the city, but their bites are rarely fatal; if you see one, remain calm and move away slowly. Like all wildlife in national parks, the copperhead is a protected species. And with up to 80% of their diet consisting of rodents, copperheads provide a very valuable service in controlling those populations in the park!"
While it's unlikely you'll see a copperhead snake while perusing the Mall, it is important you do not hurt a snake if you spot one. As the National Zoo explains, if a copperhead snake bites a person, it is usually by accident. The snake camouflages well into the environment with its reddish-brown skin, and people may accidentally step it. To defend itself, the snake will quickly strike its target and then slither away. Mall visitors should stay on the lookout, especially when the snakes are most active -- from April through October.