A venomous snake bit a customer shopping for trees at a North Carolina home improvement store Monday, authorities said.
The unidentified customer was shopping in a section of the lawn and gardening section where trees are displayed at a Lowe's in Denver, in Lincoln County about 25 miles north of Charlotte, said Karen Cobb, a spokeswoman for Lowe's. The copperhead sank its teeth into the customer, who was treated at a local hospital after employees called 911, Cobb told NBC News
Cobb said the company hadn't yet figured out why the snake was in the center, but she said that a pest control company has swept the area and that no other snakes have been found.
Copperhead bites cause tissue destruction but usually aren't fatal to people, according to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
"Keep in mind, however, that even a non-fatal bite needs medical attention, is extremely painful, and may cause extensive scarring and loss of use," the agency said. "Don't take chances — avoid these snakes."
The East Lincoln Fire Department took the occasion to issue a warning on Facebook, telling readers: "This could happen at any store that sells trees. So be mindful when shopping for gardening supplies."
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
Alex Johnson is a senior writer for NBC News covering general news and technology and religion. He is based in Los Angeles.