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What Kind Of Snake Is It

The weather is getting warmer and spring is on its way in 2020. There are many people who are getting out of the house to escape some of the social distancing, due to the Coronavirus, and start to prepare their yards and gardens for the upcoming beautiful colors. While the yard cleaning is underway, snakes are starting to be seen as well because of our mild winter.

There have been an increase is posts on Facebook where people are asking if the snake they came in contact with is a copperhead. There are many different types of snakes that are residing in the eastern part of the United States. The goal is to educate you so that you are able to determine if the snake you come in contact with is venomous or not.

As stated above, there are many different types of snakes that reside in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia area. Here are a list of names of the snakes.



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.

Northern Cottonmouth / Water Moccasin

A thick-bodied, venomous bruiser, the cottonmouth hangs out in the swamps and streams of far southern and southeastern Virginia. An isolated population lives near the confluence of the James and Appomattox rivers in the Hopewell area.

Timber Rattlesnake

These creatures inhabit our western Piedmont and mountain regions, as well as swampy areas in the state’s southeastern corner. These snakes have rattles at the end of their tail to give warning to any dangers or prey that is close to it.


Northern Brown Snake

A small, brown snake (15 inches) with darker paired spots down its back.

Ring-Neck Snake

A small grey snake (up to 20 inches) with orange to yellow belly and a yellow or orange ring around its neck.

Gartner Snake

A greenish or brown snake covered in checkered spots, and a yellow to white line down its back. Grows up to 48 inches long.

Black Rat Snake

A large and harmless black snake that can grow up to 80 inches long (6.5 feet). The body is shaped like a loaf of bread. Belly is black and white checkered becoming gray near the tail. Baby or juvenile black rat snakes are often confused with other snakes as they are gray or brown with black blotches on the body. They are wonderful at taking care of rats and mice.

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.

Northern Black Racer

A large shiny black snake that can grow to six feet. These guys will slither away very quickly. The young look very much like the baby black rat snake.

Worm Snake

A small shiny brown snake with a pink belly. They look very much like a large worm, growing to 15 inches. They think earthworms are delicious.

Northern Water Snake

A large gray to brown snake with darker blotches on its back. They are non-venomous, that is they have no poison. Water snakes live in and around water snacking on fish.

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.

Red Bellied Snake

A small grayish brown to black snake with a red belly. They sometimes have black stripes down the back and light blotches on its neck.

Mole King Snake

It may look like a corn snake, but it’s a king snake! This gorgeous gray to brown snake with orange spots or blotches grows to 47 inches.

Here are a few tips to utilize while working in your yard.

  1. The most important is to leave a snake alone. Bites occur when people try to kill or move the snake.

  2. Keep vegetation thinned and trimmed by wearing heavy work gloves, shoes or boots.

  3. Remove piles of leaves and brush away from walkways and play areas.

  4. Be alert when working around stacks of lumber.

  5. When outside at night, use a flashlight and shine before you step. Also use when working in a dark shed, garage or barn.

  6. Remove anything around your home that will attract rodents which is a main course for snakes.

Here are some tips if 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.

There are many different types of snakes within our area. The key is to be educated on which is venomous or not and know what to do if you come in contact with one. If you do come in contact, give Elite Wildlife Removal a call at 804-867-7184 or 301-848-5048. We will be more than happy to work with you regarding any of your wildlife needs.

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