Camper dies from copperhead snake bite in Missouri

Friday, July 11, 2014 | 9:32 a.m. CDT; updated 4:29 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2014

ST. CHARLES — A St. Charles man is dead after being bitten by a copperhead snake while camping with his family in southeast Missouri.

Timothy Levins, 52, of St. Charles, died Tuesday evening after being bitten at Sam A. Baker State Park, Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch said. It was the third known death in Missouri by the bite of a copperhead, Finch said Thursday. The others were in the 1960s and in 2012.

Finch said Levins was at a cabin, saw the snake and pointed it out to his son. The snake, 18 to 20 inches long, bit Levins two or three times after he picked it up.

The 11-year-old son told officials that his father went inside and washed his hands in the sink, then sat on a couch and started to shake before passing out, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Someone in a neighboring cabin started CPR and an ambulance was called. Levin was pronounced dead at a hospital in Poplar Bluff of anaphylactic shock due to snake bite.

"This time of the year, the snakes are moving," Finch said. "Please be careful, and if you see one, please do not try to pick it up. Stay away from them."

The Missouri Department of Conservation said nearly 100 people in Missouri are bitten by snakes each year, but deaths are rare. Snakes don't inject venom in about one-fourth of bites, and many venomous snakes don't have enough venom to kill a person.

A funeral for Levins is Monday in St. Charles.

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