By William T. Hathaway

Hognose and Garter Snakes

Most of us are aware that the true water moccasin is the Cottonmouth Moccasin found in the coastal plain of Virginia and other southern states. Experts tell us that the cottonmouth is not native to Pittsylvania County or adjacent counties. We do have the native Copperhead often called the “highland moccasin.” In fact, the copperheads and timber rattlesnakes are the only venomous snakes found in our local area.

Our nonvenomous native water snakes and many colorful juvenile snakes are also called “moccasins.” The ferocious looking Hognose (top photo) and fierce appearing Garter Snake (bottom photo) are often needlessly slaughtered as “poison moccasins.”

Frankly, I am definitely afraid of venomous snakes, but I'm constrained to respect harmless species.