ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The number of snake sightings is up around southwest Virginia and the Blue Ridge, and that is to be expected. It has to do with the season.

“This time of the year snakes are very active, but it will slow down as we get further into summer,” said State Herpetologist J.D. Kleopfer with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. “Late in the summer, there will be a pulse of baby snakes on the landscape from eggs laid back in late spring. Live-bearing snakes such as copperheads will also be giving birth. “

So, it is a good idea to be snake aware when outside. Most snakes encountered in Virginia, like rat snakes or racers, will be harmless. However, there are two venomous species in southwest Virginia and the Blue Ridge region; timber rattlesnakes and copperheads.

Regardless of the species, Kleopfer’s advice is still the same: “When folks encounter snakes, they should adhere to four simple words: just leave them alone.”

For more information on snakes in the Commonwealth, contact the Virginia Herpetological Society.