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Are There Slithering Snakes In Your Backyard?

That’s right, folks!! It’s snake season again. There are many different type of snake species within our area. Both venomous and non-venomous. The key is to be fully knowledgeable with the type of snake you encounter. This area has a majority of three different snakes: black, copperheads, and water snakes. Here is how you can tell the difference.

Black Snake

The black rat-snake and black racer snake are the most common snakes which gets confused as being a copperhead. Both of these snakes are non-venomous. The pupil is round on both snakes and the pattern on these snakes is like an hourglass; however, the pattern doesn’t extend to both sides of these particular snakes like it does a copperhead snake. The head of a black rat-snake is wider than the rest of the body.

Water Snakes

There are two different water snakes within the area: Eastern Cottonmouth and Northern Water Snake. Cottonmouth snakes are venomous and is commonly found in these places within Virginia: Brunswick County, Chesapeake County, Chesterfield County, Dinwiddie County, Greensville County, Newport News County, Prince George County, Southampton County, Suffolk City, Surry County, Sussex County, Virginia Beach City, and York County.

These snakes are considered a pit-viper which means they have a heating sensing added to the location between the eye and the nostril on the head. The cottonmouth name refers the action taken by the snake to notify other animals including humans its presence. The opening of the mouth shows an inner white lining to make it visible.

The Northern Water Snake is frequently misidentified as the cottonmouth snake. The body color is brown to gray with amounts of white, red and yellow. The pattern is closely positioned crossbands in which the crossbands break up halfway down the length of the snake and form a series of rectangular blotches near the backbone on the sides. Then there are some water snakes with brown to grayish color without the pattern.

Copperhead Snake

A copperhead snake is a venomous snake within the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia area. These snakes also have vertical pupil with a heat sensor added to the location between the eye and the nostril. The head is triangular and coppery-red. The distinctive pattern on a copperhead is hour glass shaped crossbands that are chestnut colored to dark brown. The juvenile copperhead snake has a sulfur yellow tail; however, it turn black as the snake gets older.

Here are some facts about the black snake, the water snake, and copperhead snake.

  1. A copperhead snake will freeze in its current position when it's caught unaware. Since the snake doesn't flee, that's why the bites are most common. A person who steps on it or around it doesn't know the snake is there because it has frozen in position.

  2. A copperhead's venom carries an enzyme, contortrostatin, which has been discovered to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

  3. Snakes can leap at you the length of themselves. For example, if you encounter a rattlesnake and the snake feels threatened, then the snake can jump at you the length of its body. So if the rattlesnake is 4 ft long, then it can leap at you 4 ft.

  4. A snake can lay between 5-15 babies in one birth.

  5. A venomous snake has a single row of scales after the anal plate while non-venomous has a dual row of scales after the anal plate.

  6. Baby snakes are on their own once born. There is no staying in the nest or near its mother.

  7. The black rat-snake and black-racer snake eats copperhead snakes.

Here are some tips when you encounter a snake.

  1. Never try to capture or kill a snake. Most snake bites occur from a non-professional wildlife tech trying to capture or kill it.

  2. Stay on the trail/path if you are hiking or taking a stroll in the woods. Avoid rocks and logs due to snakes like to hide under these areas. Also avoid tall grass because a snake can be easier seen if the grass is kept maintained. Know your surroundings.

  3. If you happen to come across a snake, even if it's not venomous, stay calm. You don't want to make any sudden movements toward the snake, walk away from it or go the opposite direction. If you are not able to go the opposite direction, then you want to give the snake a wide distance between you both as you circle around it.

  4. Protect your pets. Make sure you put your pets inside or in a fenced off area of your property if you come in contact with a snake on your property. Dogs typically go after any animal which comes on its territory.

  5. Teach your children what he/she should do once comes in contact with a snake as well. We all teach our children a fire safety route if our home is on fire. They also need to have a plan of what to do if they come in contact with any wild animal.

If you encounter a snake, whether venomous or non-venomous, give Elite Wildlife Removal a call at 804-867-7184. We will be more than happy to work with you regarding any of your wildlife pest needs.

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