Common Snakes of Virginia

There are 35 different species and subspecies of snakes in Virginia. People may kill the snakes thinking that they are harmful when in fact some of them are harmless to human beings. Snakes found in Virginia can be classified into two distinct groups;

  • Poisonous
  • Non-poisonous

The poisonous snakes are harmful and can kill a human being while the non-poisonous ones are harmless.

Poisonous snakes of Virginia
There are only three poisonous snake species in the state of Virginia. All poisonous snake species found in Virginia are pit vipers and they include;
  • Northern Copperheads (found in mountainous areas)
  • Eastern Cottonmouths (found in the Southeastern corner of Virginia)
  • Timber Rattlesnakes (found in Western mountainous areas of Virginia)
How to identify poisonous snakes of Virginia

All poisonous snakes of Virginia have some or all of the following characteristics and it is important to remember them in order to recognize them;
  • They have a single row of scales going across their undersides
  • They have eyes with vertically elliptical pupils
  • If you are not within the range of the map area of a given species then you are unlikely to encounter them
  • They have identifiable color patterns
Harmless snakes of Virginia

The following are some of the harmless snakes found in Virginia;
  • Eastern Scarlet (Eastern Piedmont and Coastal plains)
  • Eastern Hog-nosed (statewide)
  • Scarlet King (extreme Southeastern corner of Virginia)
  • Eastern Milk (Western and Northern counties)
  • Coastal plain milk (Piedmont and Coastal plains)
  • Northern water snake (Water bodies)
  • Brown water snake (South East)
  • Eastern worm (statewide)
  • Northern black racer (statewide)
  • Ring neck (statewide)
  • Corn snake (statewide except South)
  • Black rat (statewide)
  • Mole snake (statewide)
  • Eastern king (statewide)
  • Black King (Lee County)
  • Red-bellied water snake (Southeastern corner)
  • Red-bellied snake (statewide)
  • Eastern garter (statewide)
  • Eastern ribbon (statewide)
  • Rainbow snake (statewide)
  • Mad snake (statewide)
  • Queen snake (statewide)
  • Glossy water snake (New Kent County)
  • Smooth Earth snake (Coastal plain and Piedmont)
  • Mountain earth (Highland County)
  • Rough earth (Southeastern third)
  • Southeastern crowned snake (Southeastern Piedmont)
General analysis
All snake species found in Virginia can also be found in other American states. The poisonous snakes of Virginia have hematoxic venom that can be treated by any hospital found in any county.

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