WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr

West Virginia Wildlife
Snakes of West Virginia
Patrick McMurtry Get To Know The Snakes Of The Mountain State

July 25, 2012
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


"There's our timber rattlesnake."
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources biologist Jim Freganara knows more about snakes than just about anybody in the state.

"This is our official West Virginia state reptile and they come in different colors phases, this one is kind of yellowish, kind of grey, some will be almost all black.
They can live to be 35 to 40 years old, if he does rattle, all that means is you're in my space and leave me alone." say Freganara.

This guy is about 10, and the way he's acting is pretty typical, he's sticking his tongue out to get an idea of where he is, he is not agitated and really could care less if we were around or not. You can see, we're pretty close and even if he did want to strike, he can only strike half his body length. If you don't hear him, you might get him confused with other, non-venomous snakes.

"You can look at the shape of the head. This non-venomous snakes will have more of a spear heard, the rattlesnake will have more of a triangular head, but if you look at the eyes, if they have slits for eyes, that's going to be a rattlesnake or a copperhead." say Freganara.

While the timber rattlesnake isn't very aggressive, the other poisonous snake in the state is a little more dangerous.

"When you're around copperheads, you have to be extra careful. Rattlesnakes pretty much want to be left alone, they will coil and rattle, but copperheads are much more agitated and much more nervous." say Freganara.

The rattlesnake is more venomous than the copperhead, but neither get as long as the imposing black rat snake. Although it looks mean, it's not, and it does a lot of good, keeping the rodent population down where ever it goes...much like every other snake in the state.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


W.Va. Wildlife from Eyewitness News August 13, 2014
RD Bailey WMA
Outdoor Opportunities In Southern West Virginia Video

W.Va. Wildlife from Eyewitness News August 6, 2014
Archery Passion
One Woman's Passion For Archery Brings Her Family Together Video

W.Va. Wildlife from Eyewitness News July 30, 2014
Fishing Strategies
Fishing Strategies Needed When The Heat Is On Video

W.Va. Wildlife from Eyewitness News July 23, 2014
River Floating
The New River Offers Endless Fishing Opportunities Video

W.Va. Wildlife from Eyewitness News July 16, 2014
Skeet Shooting
Practice Makes Perfect Video


Visit WV DNR

Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site

Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.