Virginia – It sounds like you have a good understanding of how to identify venomous snakes, as well as some of the behavior and risk factors associated with them.
It’s essential to remember that all wild animals, including snakes, should be treated with respect and caution, whether they’re venomous or not.
To elaborate more on the three venomous snakes found in Virginia:
- Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix): As its name suggests, this snake is known for its copper-red head. It has hourglass-shaped bands across its body and can be found throughout the state, in various habitats including forests, rocky areas, and suburban neighborhoods.
- Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus): These snakes are known for the distinctive rattle at the end of their tails. They’re usually yellow or gray with dark bands or chevrons along their body. Timber Rattlesnakes are mostly found in the mountainous regions of the state.
- Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus): This snake is semi-aquatic and can be found near bodies of water. It’s dark-colored with wide, dark bands. When threatened, it may open its mouth wide, showing the white interior that gives it its name.
If you encounter a snake, it’s best to leave it alone and maintain a safe distance. Snakes usually only bite humans in self-defense when they feel threatened.
In case of a snake bite, here are some steps to follow:
- Stay Calm: Panic can increase your heart rate and spread the venom faster.
- Seek Medical Attention Immediately: Call 911 and go to the nearest hospital.
- Immobilize the bitten area: If possible, keep the bitten area at or below heart level to slow the spread of venom.
- Do not attempt to suck out the venom or apply a tourniquet. This could potentially make things worse.
- Don’t attempt to catch or kill the snake: This could lead to further bites or other injuries. It’s more important to get away and seek medical help.
- Take a picture of the snake: If it’s safe to do so, take a photo of the snake that bit you or remember its appearance. This can help medical personnel determine the right anti-venom to administer.
Remember, prevention is the best approach. If you live in an area where venomous snakes are common, try to snake-proof your house by sealing cracks and gaps where a snake might enter. Regularly clean up piles of wood, leaves, or debris in your yard, as snakes often use these areas for shelter.