Snake sightings on the rise in Central VA following mild winter

Juvenile Copperhead snake captured from a Chesterfield home Tuesday (Source: Richard Perry)
Juvenile Copperhead snake captured from a Chesterfield home Tuesday (Source: Richard Perry)
Published: May. 9, 2018 at 9:58 PM EDT|Updated: May. 9, 2018 at 10:08 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Snake sightings are on the rise as temperatures warm up in Central Virginia leaving wildlife management companies to field non-stop calls.

Virginia Wildlife Management & Control owner Richard Perry said he's getting between 75 and 150 calls and texts per day regarding snakes.

Perry said snakes like to stay in cooler areas, including rock walls, bushes, and gardens.

While snakes aren't necessarily bad, there are a fair share that are dangerous, including Copperheads which are being sighted around Richmond.

"We've had a couple Copperheads around our house lately," said Steven Dew, of Richmond. "So [we] definitely keep the boys... our close eyes on them."

The Dew family's number one priority is to keep their kids safe.

"[We] keep them out of the leaves, out of the bushes because we have seen some black snakes," said Nehana Dew. "I know they're harmless, but I don't want them picking them up, running around."

Perry said it's not uncommon to see snakes this time of year, but the number of sightings and calls he's getting right now is because of the weather.

"Back in February we were getting temperatures up in the high 60s and low 70s, which caused snakes to come out of early hibernation," he said.

Perry said people can text him for snake identification if they're unsure whether it's venomous or not.

Videos posted to his company's Facebook page show a variety of different captures at clients' homes.

Tuesday afternoon Perry wrangled a juvenile copperhead snake in Chesterfield.

"When we got there, we almost couldn't even find it," he said. "It was right there literally a foot away from, but it blended in so well."

That's because of a Copperhead's unique appearance. Most of the time they'll have a pattern on their skin, along with a triangle-shaped head, and cat-like eyes. Juveniles will also have a green neon hue on their tail.

"Juvenile Copperheads are very dangerous because they can't control the venom that they release," Perry said. "Once they start biting you they continue to bite you and inject lots of venom."

Knowing where to look is always key as well.

"They love rock walls," Perry said. "They love crevices, and many times if you see these crevices you'll see them right up inside."

But they're not just in the walls, they're also somewhere your children may play.

"If you're going to let your child outside, go and check their toys really well, because we've been getting a lot of calls for snakes in these play toys and play areas," Perry said.

"I don't like snakes!" said Josiah Dew.

If you do come across a snake, you're urged to not kill it yourself, but rather get in touch with the professionals who can handle the situation.

For more information on Virginia Wildlife Management & Control services, please click here, or call (804) 617-7086.

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