What kind of snake?

Asked August 13, 2018, 6:42 PM EDT

Saw on Rivanna Trail behind UVA softball field. Thanks

Albemarle County Virginia

1 Response

Thank you for your question. The snake in your photographs is a copperhead, scientific name Agkistrodon contortrix. It is a venomous species.

Copperheads are found throughout the state of Virginia. They are the most common venomous snake encountered. Nationwide they range from portions of Massachusetts, south to north Florida and west from Nebraska down to Texas.

Typical length is 2 - 3 feet, and maximum length can be slightly over 4 feet. They can be found in all types of terrestrial habitats.

They have a pretty varied diet that includes small rodents, birds, frogs, lizards, other snakes and even large insects.

More people in the eastern United States are bitten by copperheads than any other venomous snake. Bites produce a great deal of pain, but few fatalities have been recorded. The key to minimizing the effects of any venomous snake bite is seeking medical attention right away.

If you're interested in learning more about snakes in your area, check out the Virginia Herpetological Society website's page for this species at:


Here are some excellent books on snakes in your area:

Gibbons, W. & Dorcas, M. (2015). Snakes of the Southeast. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

Gibbons, W. (2017). Snakes of the Eastern United States. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.