Company starts 24-hour identification hotline to prevent snake deaths

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — You may not be a fan of snakes, but one local company is making it their mission to help you not be so fearful and to contact them before you think about killing a snake.

For Richard Perry, the owner of Virginia Wildlife Management and Control who specializes in snake removal, his job is about more than just removing snakes; it’s about saving their lives.

“We get an awful lot of calls daily about snakes inside houses, inside attics, crawlspaces, garages,” Perry explained.

Perry says many times people see a snake and automatically assume it is venomous.

“We’re getting reports from a lot of people that are seeing these snakes and they are actually killing them before we even get to the property, and when we get there and ask them why they killed it,” Perry said. “Of course they felt threatened and felt like they were in danger.”

Perry added that of the 30 different snakes in Virginia, only three are venomous.

“The rest are non-venomous, but there is an awful lot of snakes that have patterns and often get confused with copperheads,” he said.

So to fix the problem of people killing completely harmless snakes, or to keep someone from getting hurt from a snake that is venomous, Perry started a 24-hour hotline where people can text a photo of a snake and receive more information about it. The service has spread faster than Perry ever imagined.

“We get anywhere from 150-200 text pictures every single day,” Perry said.

The original post on Facebook went viral. Perry says at all hours of the day and night, he is now getting messages from all over the world.

“It’s basically gone worldwide,” he said. “We never expected this to happen, now bear in mind we only specialize in Virginia snakes,” Perry said.

But he also has an important reminder for those who utilize the service: “Now bear in mind we only specialize in Virginia snakes.”

The phone number you can text for a snake identification is 804-617-7086.

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