Venomous snake spotted at Sandbridge beach


by David Ham

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 15 at 5:40 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH--Some Va. Beach residents say they're seeing more cottonmouth snakes than usual.

A cottonmouth was recently spotted on a beach in a National Wildlife Refuge about a week ago. in Sandbridge.

"It may happen more than we realize because these snakes are more active at night. it could be that they're out there more than we realize, but it's not likely," said Biologist David Bishop with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A visitor shared the picture with U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

Rebecca Nichols said she spotted a cottonmouth at the same beach 2 years ago.

"I was walking along the beach looking for interesting things to photograph when I saw something protruding from a ghost crab hole. On closer inspection, I realized it was a snake. I took some photos and continued my walk, by the time I returned, it had disappeared," she said.

Bishop says the milder weather may be the reason why some people are seeing more cottonmouths across the city.

"It is possible there could be a slight increase in cottonmouths from say maybe 2 winters ago when we had a big winter," stated Bishop.

He said people should not be worried about being bitten by the venomous snake as long as they keep their distance.

"It's really rare for a person to get bit and especially bit and die from a snake. You're more likely to get struck by lighting," said Bishop.

He added anyone who sees a cottonmouth near their home or even on a beach should call a wildlife nuisance control specialist to remove the snake.