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Snakes -When to Steer Clear

Holy cow! If there’s something we need to know about it’s snakes. Which types help us control rodents and which types should we avoid at all cost?

John from Virginia Snake Removal was happy to share some more information with us!

What percentage of the snakes we have here in SE Virginia are venomous?

​In our area, we most commonly see the Northern Copperhead and on the southside both the Copperhead as well as the Eastern Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin). There are small populations of Canebrake Rattlesnake that are found in Southeastern Virginia as well but are rare.

Which is the most venomous snake we find here in Virginia?

All of our venomous snakes have a certain level of toxicity and their venom attacks the blood and tissue of the body. The Canebrake Rattlesnake’s venom would be considered the most dangerous due to the neurotoxin (effects the nervous system) as well as the hemotoxin properties (causes necrosis to muscle and tissue).

What is important to remember is that venom is costly for the snakes to produce and is a feeding mechanism, not something used for defense so many venomous snakes will bite as a last resort.

Which type of snake is most abundant in this area?

Of our smaller bodied snakes, the most abundant would probably be the Northern Brown Snake, which unfortunately is killed often because people think they are copperheads. The Eastern Ratsnake (formerly named Black Rat Snake) is our most abundant larger snake in our area that most residents encounter in a variety of neighborhoods/habitats.

Is there a season in which snakes are more active?

Our local snakes tend to be most active in the Springtime due to emerging from hibernation with the focus on feeding and mating. During the hot summer months, snake activity level slows down, and they tend to be more active in the early morning and evening hours.

When you capture and relocate a snake, where do you typically take them?

Virginia law requires us to relocate them back on the homeowner’s property or translocate them to an area where the habitat supports that species. We try to not translocate animals as that causes stress to animals that have established a home range.

If someone contacts you to report a snake in their home, what type of response time can they expect?

We are in Williamsburg so if they are calling from our area(Williamsburg/James City County/York County/New Kent), the response time is quick, depending on their location. We do tell residents that they MUST keep visual contact with the animal to guarantee that we can remove the animal successfully. If you are on the Southside, my good friend Mike Wauhop at ZOO PRO Animal Removal (757) 333-3391 is the best expert service out there.

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