LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. -- A customer shopping for plants at Lowe's Home Improvement was bitten by a venomous snake Monday.

It was originally reported by the East Lincoln Fire Department that the victim was an employee, but NBC Charlotte confirmed with a spokesperson for Lowe's that the victim is a customer.

NBC Charlotte spoke to the victim by phone. He said he was shopping for gardenias for his wife when he was bitten by a 4-and-a-half-foot copperhead snake while in the garden section of the store in Denver.

"Store employees called 9-1-1 and arranged for emergency personnel to take the customer to a local hospital. Once the customer had been attended to, the store employees searched the garden center to check for any other snakes," according to a Lowe's spokesperson.

The victim remains in the hospital. Authorities say the snake was up in a tree.

No other snakes have been found in the garden center since Monday afternoon, according to the spokesperson, but they continue to monitor. A pest control company has been called to the store to check.

"We’re looking into possible causes, but at this time, don’t know for certain how the snake got into the garden center," the spokesperson said.

North Carolina consistently has more reports of snake bites per year than any other state.

Experts say to avoid the risk of snakes, clean up around the yard, remove any trash and replace any vegetative garden mulch with gravel, which will stop the snakes from hiding in it. Also be careful when lifting any old logs or other trash. Check to make sure there aren't any snakes lurking underneath.