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Venomous Snakes in Virginia That You Should Know

Virginia is home to a number of snake species, but there are three that have a bite that is poisonous to human beings. While the presence of any type of snake around your home is concerning, it’s especially important to be aware of these three venomous species so you can protect yourself and your loved ones should you come across one of them.

Eastern Copperhead

One of the most prominent features of the Eastern Copperhead is its triangular head. These are not the biggest of snakes as they measure 2 to 3 feet – very few reach 4 feet. They have pits on both sides of their snout and have cat-like eyes called elliptical pupils.


The Eastern Copperhead snake is the least venomous snake out of the three. They are easily identifiable by their dark, hourglass-shaped color bands that stretch across the top of their body. Many look-alikes for these snakes include bands that are similar, but do not stretch all the way across the top of the body or are more rounded in shape.

The average length of the eastern copperhead is 24-36 inches (60-90cm) with a record length of 53 inches (134cm). Baby copperheads have the same color patterns as adults with the addition of a sulfur-yellow colored tail. Eastern Copperheads prey on small mammals and reptiles, such as voles, shrews, salamanders, and lizards. Read more from Outforia…

Their venom contains hemotoxins that can temporarily damage tissue in the bite area.

Northern Cottonmouth

This is a heavily-bodied snake that is averagely 76 to 120 cm. It is a semi-aquatic snake, which means it can live on land and in water, and thus may be found around rivers, streams, and wetland areas. It has pit vipers with heat sensors and dorsal scales on its body and tail.

Cottonmouths, also known as water moccasins, are more commonly found in the southeastern parts of Virginia. They are semi-aquatic snakes. This means that they live both on land and on water. Cottonmouths have triangular heads as well as elliptical pupils. Adult cottonmouths have black tails but their tails aren’t always black. Baby cottonmouths are born with brightly colored tails which darken as they age.

Cottonmouths are known for their deadly venom which contains hemotoxins that break down blood cells and stop blood from clotting. Once a cottonmouth bites, it will take only a few moments for the venom to spread. This will lead to hemorrhaging of the prey’s circulatory system. These species of snakes should be avoided at all times as they have been known to kill humans.

Luckily, cottonmouths do not routinely prey on humans unless threatened.  Read more from AZ Animals…

Timber Rattlesnake

This venomous snake has zigzag blotches and dark brown to black crossbands on its dorsal scales. It has a triangular head with heat sensor pits and a black tail. On average, it measures 2.5 to 5 feet.

This large, thick-bodied species ranges in color from yellow to black and has dark chevron-shaped bands on its back. The snakes have several hardened segments on the end of the tail, which form the rattle. Young rattlesnakes look similar to adults but typically have one rattle segment. Adult rattlesnakes can reach up to 67 inches.

Timber Rattlesnakes are found in forests and rocky ridgetops in the mountainous portions of Virginia; the endangered canebrake rattlesnake can be found in the southeastern corner of Virginia.  Rattlesnakes eat small mammals, birds, and frogs.

Look-a-likes: No other species in Virginia has a hard rattle on the end of its tail, but Eastern Ratsnakes will often mimic rattlesnakes by flicking their tail rapidly against leaf litter and other objects to replicate a rattle-like sound. Read more from Wildlife Center…

The bite of a timber rattlesnake contains hemotoxins that affect the cells and tissues of its prey, which makes digestion easier.

Venomous snakes should be treated with caution; any attempt to kill them yourself may put you in danger. At Backyard Bug Patrol, we offer snake control for homes in Loudoun County including Ashburn and Leesburg, VA, and the surrounding areas using organic granular products that act as snake repellant, keeping snakes away from your home. Call us today for professional pest control at 703-621-7116.






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