VENOMOUS snakes could soon be found in urban neighbourhoods of South Carolina and pose a threat to the local community, according to environmental experts warning of the devastating impact of Hurricane Florence.
Dangerous snakes which typically resident in South Carolina’s wetlands may be displaced by the storm, driving them into populated areas, according to local zoo officials.
Thad Bowman, public relations director at Alligator Adventure zoo in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, warned heavy flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence’s landfall will likely occur along the state’s waterways, where snakes are typically found.
He noted heavy deluges could destroy snake habitats, flushing the venomous creatures into affected urban neighbourhoods.
Horry County in South Carolina is home to numerous venomous snakes, including the cottonmouth and copperhead species.
Gerald O’Malley, professor of emergency medicine and toxicology at Grand Stand Medical Centre in Myrtle Beach, warned these snakes pose a serious risk to humans.
He said: “They inject venom, which causes tissue destruction and platelet loss, which causes bleeding and can cause death.”
Mr Bowman added residents should remain indoors throughout the storm, but stressed that if anyone is bitten by a snake, they should go to hospital immediately.
While many hospitals along the South Carolina coast have been closed ahead of Florence’s landfall, Conway Medical Centre on the outskirts of Myrtle Beach will remain open.