Saturday, September 24, 2016

Venomous Snakes of WV That Swim… Really Well

Don’t even try to act surprised!  You knew I’d Google it to find out what kind of snake I saw.

First, let’s make a distinction between poisonous and venomous.  I made that mistake at first and asked my friend about poisonous snakes…  Poisonous means you get sick or die if you eat them.  Venomous means they inject venom when they bite you and you might get sick or die from the reaction to it.   I have zero intention of eating a snake.  Maybe someday I’ll be that kind of brave.  But that day is not today!  So poisonous is a moot point.  I’m worried about getting bit, or one of the dog’s getting bit, and needing medical care to survive.  Venomous snakes are my concern.

Photo from Encyclopedia Britannica Kids
According to this brochure from the state agency that manages wildlife, there are only two kinds of venomous snakes found in all of West Virginia:  Northern Copperheads and Timber Rattlesnakes.


They can both swim.

Swim quite well, in fact.

Photo from Encyclopedia Britannica Kids.
Of course, there are 20 or so perfectly harmless varieties of snakes around these parts, too.  And lots of them can swim.  I guess that's supposed to give me a sense of help or comfort...

Yeah.  Not so much!

After comparing lots of pictures to my memory of what this one looked like, it was either a Copperhead or some sort of water snake.  While WVDNR says the Copperheads are shy and pretty non-aggressive and will only bite if threatened, I'm going to just go with a water snake.  That makes it a little easier to be brave!

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