Snake Education at Lake Holiday

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Written by Anthony Morelli

On July 23, 2018

SNAKE!!!  With summer here, snakes are out and about, enjoying the warm weather!  In our part of Virginia, the only venomous species we tend to see are Eastern CopperheadsTimber Rattlesnakes are also found in this region but their numbers are dwindling (due to humans), so it’s unlikely to see them.  While you may think you can identify our local snakes, please don’t mess with them, and trying to kill them is illegal.  Instead, if you don’t want a snake on your property, you can text me and I should be able to relocate it for you.  If I’m not, there are many relocators in our area.

Many snakes including: Ratsnakes, Garter Snakes, and Black Racers save us millions on crop damage every year, and thus are the best friend to your local farmer!  They are useful animals to have on your property.  Please don’t kill snakes.  Not only is it illegal in VA and most other states, but they’re simply another animal out living its life, wanting nothing to do with people.  If you find a snake on your property or when out walking, please don’t pick up a shovel!  Snakes do not chase you, snakes do not want to attack you, they will leave you alone if you do the same.  Teach respect to your children, not fear.  If you want them off your property, herpetologists advise you to use a hose to spray water at them; they’ll go in the other direction; or use a long-handled broom to sweep them away.  At best, leave them to get away on their own time.

If you are still concerned, need help on an ID, or have any questions, feel free to text me at 540.450.6188, and I’ll try my best to help you.  Just please don’t kill snakes!  They’re a valuable part of our ecosystem and deserve some respect.

Some useful information:  Snakes are likely on your property because something is attracting them!  If you find snakes on your property often, you may need to reduce shelter for them and their prey, and check to see if you have a rodent problem.

Some things to avoid: tall grass, brushpiles, woodpiles, bird feed, unused sheds. For more info, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website and search ‘snakes.’

Timber Rattlesnakes and Copperheads are used in research for heart disease, thinning blood, pain relief, and most amazingly, cancer treatment!  Most snakes that are killed by humans are harmless Watersnakes (Nerodia), Ratsnakes, Hognoses, Garters, Cornsnakes, and Milksnakes, just to name a few.

In VA, Eastern Cottonmouths (AKA Water Moccasins) are only found around the Williamsburg area.  Visit the Virginia Herpetological website to learn more about our local snakes and their habitat ranges.

Submitted by Yona Britto

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