RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After a man was bitten by his own exotic pet snake this week, many Virginia residents are wondering: do you need to be worried about snakes in your yard? Or at the park?

Wildlife officials warned people that if they do find a snake in the wild, to leave it alone.

Doctor Michelle Troendle, a clinical toxicologist at Virginia Poison Center, said the severe effects of a venomous snake bite could be from the venom itself or from not getting to the hospital in time to receive the antivenom.

“The limb where a patient got bit could become painful, swollen and it can bruise quite easily,” she said.

There are a wide variety of toxicities that could result from a venomous bite.

Troendle said the blood could stop clotting like it’s supposed to or a person’s muscles could get weak or paralyzed.

North American snake bites cause about 5 to 10 deaths a year, said Troendle.

“Between April and October we may see somewhere between three to five snake bite patients per month during those warmer months,” she said.

Richmond area doctors treat bites from Copperheads, one of Virginia’s venomous snakes, more often than others. Copperheads are often spotted by areas with water.

Troendle said VCU Medical Center has 16 vials of antivenom on hand to treat native snake bites, but that type of antivenom can’t be used to treat patients with exotic snake bites.

That antivenom would have to get delivered from somewhere else, like earlier this week when the treatment had to be delivered from Virginia Beach and Washington D.C.

“There’s not enough cases that we see to justify storing it at our facility. However, antivenom to exotic snakes are stored at zoos and aquariums. There’s a higher likelihood of needing the antivenom,” she said.

The HCA hospital system said they have antivenom on hand to treat native snake bites too, not non-native snake bites. The system said they work with other poison centers to get that delivered for a patient, if needed.

8News reached out to Bon Secours, but has not received a response yet.