Venomous copperhead snake bites man in New Jersey

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey man is recovering after he was bitten by a venomous snake outside his home over the weekend.

Police say it happened just before 6 p.m. Saturday outside the home on River Street in Paterson.

Francisco Angon tells Eyewitness News he was on the street near the riverbank looking at his friend's car when he saw a snake slither past his feet.

When he attempted to pick it up and move it, it bit him.

"It was small, and I picked it up," he said. "I didn't see the danger. And I pick it up, and (motions), my finger."

He dropped the snake and said he felt the symptoms right away, before his friend called 911 for help.

The poisonous copperhead snake bit Angon's middle finger, and responders found him unresponsive on the riverbed.

He was first taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, but doctors there didn't have the anti-venom. He was transferred to Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, where he remained for three days -- a hospitalization he says he does not remember.

A snake expert removed the snake and confirmed it as a copperhead.

"I looked down, and I said 'Holy Camoly, it is a copperhead, a small one, a little darker than normal because it looks like it's about to shed its skin,'" snake expert Jerry Zelenka said.

Animal control officials believe it may have come from the nearby river.

State Fish and Wildlife officials say copperheads are rare in this part of New Jersey, but they're sometimes found in Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

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