WV Poison Center warns against wild mushrooms, snake bites

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As the summer weather draws West Virginians outside, the West Virginia Poison Center said they have already received calls for help after snake bites and wild mushroom ingestions.

Morel mushroom
Courtesy of WV Division of Tourism

The Poison Center warns that though wild mushrooms seem good enough to eat, they are better off left alone. Symptoms of mushroom poisoningscan vary depending on the type of mushroom that was eaten and can range from hallucinations to death. And it’s often different to tell the difference between edible and poisonous mushrooms. So, the West Virginia Poison Center advises against picking and eating any wild mushrooms.

Mushroom identification can be difficult and complex and should only be left up to a trained mycologist (mushroom expert.”)


If you or someone you know eats a wild mushroom, report it immediately to the WV Poison Center by calling 1-800-222-1222. Do not wait for symptoms to appear.

Timber Rattlesnake
Courtesy of ODNR Division of Wildlife

West Virginia has two types of poisonous snakes: the Timber Rattlesnake and the Northern Copperhead. The WV Poison Center advises people to:

  • Avoid walking at night
  • Avoid high grass and underbrush
  • Look before reaching or sitting on areas snakes could be hiding, like rock ledges or under logs
  • Do not approach or kill snakes unnecessarily

If bitten by a snake, here are a list of do’s and don’ts:

Immobilize the bitten area and 
limit use
Apply ice
Remove any restricting items, such as rings or braceletsApply a tourniquet
Wash the area with soap or waterCut and suck the bitten area
Transport the victim to the nearest medical facility right awayAttempt to catch or kill the snake. A dead snake can still bite.
Call the WV Poison Center at 
Northern Copperhead
Courtesy of ODNR Division of Wildlife

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