Hiss-teria: Look out for copperhead snakes

by Megan Schiffres

A copperhead snake captured by Virginia Wildlife Management and Control.

WEEMS—A rise in reported copperhead snake sightings has some folks in the Northern Neck and across the Commonwealth concerned for their safety.

“I feel like I live in a viper pit,” said Maggie Gilman, a resident of Weems whose property is infested with copperheads.

Over the last month, Gilman’s dogs have been bitten by copperhead snakes on four separate occasions. The dogs, roaming unleashed around Gilman’s property off Loblolly Road and overlooking the eastern branch of the Corrotoman River, were treated with anti-venom and one is still recovering from injuries.

Heavy rainfall over the last month, combined with the development of the area’s natural resources and a number of abnormally warm days the region experienced in February, could all have contributed to the rise in copperhead sightings in the area, according to Rich Perry, owner of Virginia Wildlife Management and Control.

“Those warm spells brought snakes out of early hibernation, which caused them to breed sooner which caused them to have more snakes sooner,” said Perry.

Virginia Wildlife Management and Control, which last year started a 24-hour snake identification hotline, has experienced an increase in the number of copperhead snake sightings reported to them, compared to 2017. According to Perry, these days the hotline is constantly ringing…