Snake 101

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

Cornielus doesn't make it out in the wild much these days, but many snakes like him do. To many, he looks vicious, but he's perfectly harmless.

"They see the bright colors. They see the patterns," said Sharon Kzinowek, Wildlife Center of Virginia. "They automatically think, it must be venomous, when he's just a corn snake."

Like many snakes, Corneilus likes to keep to himself and will leave you alone, if you do the same. "They're a little more secretive, so they're not as apt to come out in the open."

But lots of snakes are coming out in the open. It's mating season and with all the rain, many are seeking higher ground to get away from the water. And the few sunny days we've had have become most important.

"They're cold blooded. So they can't regulate their own body temperature. They do rely on the sun and warm places so they can warm up."

Virginia has three types of venomous snakes. It's important to know what to look for.

"The hourglass shape on the want to go with the darker pattern," added Kzinowek. Copperheads and rattlesnakes are pretty easy to spot. Water moccasins are a little tougher. They look almost like a non-venomous water snake. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself.

"I think once people learn a little bit about snakes, they realize they're pretty harmless creatures," said Kzinowek.

According to Kzinowek if you get too close to a nonvenomous snake, it might bite, but she says if you've ever been bitten by a kitten, kittens hurt a lot worse.

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