Snake bites are up—and that’s normal

Of the three venomous snakes in VA, copperheads can be found statewide. 

Photo courtesy of Edward Wozniak D.V.M., Ph.D. Of the three venomous snakes in VA, copperheads can be found statewide. Photo courtesy of Edward Wozniak D.V.M., Ph.D.

Virginia summers are notorious for a rise in snake sightings, and while you may be aware of this, your pet sure isn’t. One local vet sees between four to eight snake bites a week during the summer.

“I would say that we see a lot of snake bites, but not necessarily compared to those seen from last year,” says Tripp Stewart, the owner of Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital. “That being said, we do see quite a few, anywhere from four to eight in a week and sometimes even six to seven animals in a weekend.”

Charlottesville Veterinary Hospital has seen about two incidents in the past few months and Monticello Animal Hospital has around one incident per month, according to their receptionists.

The bites are not concentrated in any specific area, says Stewart, but the veterinarian is more likely to see animals coming from farms than those strolling on sidewalks in downtown Charlottesville.

“Copperheads are most active at sunset and just after dark, especially after a warm summer rain,” says John Kleopfer, herpetologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “Fortunately, copperhead bites are usually not considered lethal; however, the effects of a bite can vary between individuals and dogs.”

There is no evidence that copperhead populations increase during this time of year, says Kleopfer, but he notes that rumors about snakes sure do circulate from the public this time of year.

The eastern cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake are the other two venomous species in the state. “Of the three species of venomous snake in Virginia, copperheads are the only species which occurs statewide,” says Kleopfer. —Melissa Angell

 

CopperheadInLeavesCU
Copperheads easily blend into the environment, so it’s important to watch your step in the woods. Photo courtesy of Tim Ross and Wiki Images

Posted In:     News

Tags:     , , ,

Previous Post

UVA students join March on Mansion protest

Next Post

Driver in fatal accident faces four new charges



Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of