Snake ID

Every year, many innocent snakes are killed because they are mistakenly thought to be venomous. ¬†Snakes are valuable to our Virginia ecosystems and should be left alone to help control rodent populations. ¬†If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.
Click on the snake pictures below to learn more about those species.

Northern Copperheads have dark colored cross bands that are for the most part shaped like an hourglass.
Their diet consists of rodents.
Black Rat Snake
This black snake has a white chin and a black and white checkered abdomen.
They eat rodents, birds, and eggs, and can grow to 7 feet in length.
Northern Ringneck
These snakes are small slender snakes with a ring around their necks.
They eat invertebrates and amphibians such as worms and salamanders.
Eastern Garter Snake
These snakes can vary in color but all have the bold stripe down the back.
They eat insects, spiders, fish and amphibians and can grow to 4 feet in length.
Black Racer
A shiny black snake with a white nose and a gray belly.
They eat insects, small birds, and rodents and can grow to 6 feet in length.
Related to the rat snake, they feed on small rodents which they kill by constriction. They are often mistaken for copperheads and killed.
Their stripes are smaller and brighter and their abdomen has a striking checkered pattern.
Eastern Milk Snake
Another snake often mistaken for a copperhead. They are non-venomous and eat small rodents and other snakes.
Northern Water Snake
A non-venomous snake usually found near water and also commonly mistaken for a copperhead.

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