The Copperhead is the most common venomous snake in the state of Virginia and it is also the most incorrectly identified species. It has many snakes that share similar pattern. They are generally not aggressive snakes unless they are provoked. The picture on the right is a juvenile copperhead with it’s florescent green tail that is used as a lure to attract prey.
Northern Water Snake
Brown Water Snake
Plain Bellied Water Snake
The Eastern Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin) does have populations in Southeastern Virginia however it is RARELY seen in the James City County area. We have three species of water snakes that can look similar by flattening their bodies to look thicker but non-venomous water snakes by behavior do not stand their ground and quickly retreat upon being discovered. Eastern Cottonmouths will often stay where they are and “gape” their mouths, exposing the white lining of their mouths and fangs.
People are constantly told that we have water moccasins in Williamsburg but York County is the closest VERIFIED county of this species.
EVERY “cottonmouth” snake call that we have taken in Williamsburg in the past 25 years has turned out to be a species of non-venomous water snake. Many of these snakes are killed needlessly because someone has incorrectly identified them as a water moccasin.
For more on the differences of these snakes, click here