Most snakes are harmless and, much like bats, provide a valuable service around your home in the way of rodent control. In fact, the presence of snakes around your property or in your house may indicate a rodent problem. There are only three species of venomous snakes in Virginia. The copperhead (found statewide) is the most common; and while it is usually not found inside homes, it may be common in gardens and woodlots. Timber rattlesnakes are common only in the mountainous regions of western Virginia and a small area of extreme southeastern Virginia where they are known as canebrake rattlesnakes. Water moccasins are found to the south and east of Petersburg and are common only in wet areas.

  • Eliminate habitat near your home. Remove all rock and brush piles and keep all grassy areas mowed short near the house. This will eliminate all attraction for mice and all cover for snakes.
  • If a snake is known to have entered the structure, examine the foundation of the house thoroughly. Seal all areas around pipes, vents, or other places that may provide small openings both for rodents and snakes. Also, check the roof for overhanging vegetation. Snakes are good climbers and can also enter through the attic where trees or shrubs provide access.
  • If a snake is found in the house, identify the snake. Once it is known to be non-venomous, carefully place a bucket or wastebasket over the snake. Then slip a board carefully under the bucket or basket and carry the snake outside and release it. Remember, if you have not sealed the holes in the foundation, the snake may return.
  • Have your house checked for rodent problems. If you can eliminate the food source, the snakes will go elsewhere.