There are 30 snake species in Virginia and only three of them are venomous. The Robins Nature Center is home to two of the 30 native snake species and can be found throughout the exhibit or in the Discovery Room: the corn snake and eastern black rat snake. In general, snakes have a poor sense of sight and hearing, so they rely on their sense of smell and taste. They also use their bellies to pick up on vibrations to detect predators. All snakes have teeth but only venomous snakes have fangs.
Our corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) are named Marco and Pop and serve as animal ambassadors. Corn snakes are found throughout Virginia and are frequently mistaken for northern copperheads and are, unfortunately, often killed. These snakes are rather secretive and burrow. Their diet consists of rodents, fledgling birds, and small lizards.
The eastern black rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniesis) is both a ground and tree-dwelling snake that can be found in urban and rural areas throughout Virginia. These snakes are active during the day (diurnal) and night (nocturnal).
Pantherophis guttatus, Pantherophis alleghaniesis
Rodents, small mammals, lizards, frogs, birds, insects, snakes
13 to 102 in
HABITAT & RANGE
Forests, mountains, grasslands and wetlands of the United States
- Of the Virginia snake species, 16 lay eggs and 14 give birth to live offspring (ovoviparous).
- The black racer is the only snake that will “chase” you. This usually happens when you are blocking access to their burrow or if you are in the territory of a breeding male.
- The longest snake in Virginia is the black rat, reaching up to 102 inches or 8.5 feet long!
- Snakes are reptiles, which means they lay eggs (mostly), have a scaly skin, are cold-blooded, and are vertebrates.
- They shed their skin when they outgrow their current size.
- If you come to the Robins Nature Center, the non-venomous snake you’re likely to see is Carl, the eastern black rat snake, who has lived at Maymont since 2017. These snakes are known for living both on land and in trees, and are the longest snakes in Virginia.
- Maymont is also home to corn snakes Marco and Pop, who serve as our animal ambassadors for environmental education. Corn snakes are brightly colored snakes that, ironically, are secretive burrowing snakes.
- While the 3 venomous snakes of Virginia rely on the venom in their fangs to subdue their prey, Virginia’s non-venomous snakes are constrictors, who squeeze their prey before swallowing them whole.