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New Snake Removal Business Also Aims To Educate Community About Snakes

JAMES CITY-A Williamsburg-James City County School division elementary school science teacher with extensive knowledge of snakes has started a new business to help safely relocate snakes that may find their way into residents’ homes and yards.

John Spence first started Virginia Snake Removal last summer in part as a way to educate the community about snakes and prevent snakes from being harmed or killed. (It is illegal to kill a snake in Virginia unless there is an imminent threat to a person’s health or safety.)

“I have spent my entire life studying snakes and, as a schoolteacher, I enjoy passing on information about these fascinating but commonly misunderstood animals,” Spence said. “My biggest goal is to educate enough people so that many snakes are not needlessly killed, which happens far too often.”

For more than 20 years, Spence has been volunteering with snake removal for the James City County Animal Control and the county’s police department. Last year, he became certified through the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources as a wildlife control officer.

Virginia Snake Removal removes snakes inside and around homes and relocates them in the home range of the animal or another suitable habitat. Spence’s company services residences in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, New Kent County, and as far away as Saluda.

“I have extensive knowledge in handling venomous snakes as well as our harmless species, and have suitable equipment to aid in their capture,” Spence said. “Not every job requires capture, and so we also provide information on the exclusion of snakes from in and around the home.”

Spence stressed that it is important to leave snake removal up to a professional, one who is licensed and insured.

“Glue traps and snake repellent are a waste of time and money, and the glue traps also catch and harm other animals,” Spence said.

Encountering a snake, particularly during the warm, summer months, is inevitable, but there is no need to panic.

“There is no way to eliminate snakes from your property,” Spence said. “They are constantly on the move, and reproduce and live in the areas where our homes are. It would be like trying to eliminate all the squirrels from your backyard. Our goal is to continue to educate the community about the species of snakes that we have, and empower them to coexist with them through knowledge.”

For more information, residents can call Spence at 757-719-9661, email him at, or visit his website at

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