Reporter: Dhomonique Ricks l Videographer: Jemon Haskins
Lynchburg, VA - Experts say you may be seeing more snakes on the trails right now. Runners in the area say they are seeing an increase in venomous Copperhead Snakes too.
Jim McFarland travels these trails daily. He knows them inside and out, but something recently caught his attention.
"I almost stepped on it," McFarland said. "I saw a copperhead crossing and it was in the process of eating a worm snake otherwise it probably would have bitten me."
Experts say more are slithering up on the trails.
"They're coming out in the spring when it first starts to warm up. They're looking for warm spots and if the weather stays cool, which it has been for the last month or so, they're going to be out on rocks, or paths, or out on the road surfaces," Vic Fleet, a Nature Zone naturalist.
"They're going to tend to lay along the log," McFarland said. "They blend in. They have patterns that go across like that," he demonstrated.
But naturalists say it is not just venomous Copperhead snakes popping up. Experts say it is important to know your snakes. Corn snakes are often confused with Copperhead snakes.
"Very different from a corn snake. Corn snakes are bright orange and yellow, and sometimes red," McFarland said.
Experts say you don't have to worry. The Copperhead is only one of three venomous snakes in the state, and the most common in our area. If you see one...
"Avoid it. Just back off, they're not an aggressive snake. If you leave them alone, they'll just stay there," Fleet said.
If you do not know your snakes too well, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has a guide to all the snakes in the state. It is $5 and provides detailed information about where certain snakes are found and what they look like among other things. Contact the Nature Zone or your local DGIF Department for one.