Understanding the behavior and diet of snakes in Virginia is crucial to better comprehend their role in the ecosystem and to minimize human-snake interactions. Snakes are fascinating creatures that have adapted to a variety of habitats throughout Virginia. As cold-blooded animals, they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature, which means they are most active during the warmer months when temperatures are favorable. They are also ectothermic, meaning they cannot produce their own body heat, and rely on the sun to warm up their bodies.
Most snakes in Virginia are solitary and primarily active during the day, but some species are active at night. Many snakes in Virginia spend much of their time hiding in vegetation, under rocks or logs, or in burrows. Some species, such as the Eastern rat snake, are excellent climbers and can be found high up in trees.
Snakes in Virginia have a diverse diet, with many species feeding on rodents, birds, lizards, and amphibians. Some species, such as the Eastern hognose snake, specialize in feeding on toads. Venomous snakes, such as the copperhead and timber rattlesnake, feed on small mammals and birds, and occasionally on other snakes.
While snakes are not aggressive towards humans and will only bite if they feel threatened or cornered, it’s important to avoid handling them as much as possible. If you encounter a snake in the wild, it’s best to keep a safe distance and observe it from afar.