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My ebooks The Passion Killers, A Dark Wind of Vengeance, Blood Beyond the Abyss and The Second Layer of Hell (apocalyptic fiction) are now available for download. They are the first four installments in the Path of Survival series. To see additional information, click here .
Photo links, descriptions and information concerning some of the non-poisonous snakes seen in North America are shown below. This compilation is not intended to show all, or even most, non-poisonous snakes. The snakes listed here are either commonly seen or have the appearance of being poisonous, even though they aren't. Hopefully, this will save the lives of a few non-poisonous snakes.
Since venom is injected, and poison is ingested, technically snakes are not "poisonous" or "non-poisonous". They are "venomous" and "non-venomous". However, since most people refer to snakes as poisonous or non-poisonous (and use these words in search engines), these terms are used here to describe snakes. My intention was not to deceive anyone or provide incorrect terminology, only to make these pages easier to find.
These photos have been made available to us by the folks at eNature.com. Their consideration and generosity is greatly appreciated.
If you've seen a snake, want to identify the species and don't see it here, try "Local Nature" at eNature.com . If you know the zip code that your snake resides in, they'll show you photos of all the snake species in the region.
To see the photos and additional text, click on the species names. However, the various sub-species are not shown; there are just too many of them. Unfortunately, coloration and markings can vary greatly between the various sub-species, which can make identification difficult.
Common Garter Snake - The most widely distributed snake in North America. Commonly found in most areas from the Atlantic to Pacific Coasts, except desert regions of the Southwest. Attains a maximum length of about 52 inches. Prefers areas that are close to water, damp woodland and farms. Found from sea level to 8,000 feet.
Eastern Ribbon Snake - Commonly found in all areas of the eastern U.S., except northern New England. Attains a maximum length of about 40 inches. Prefers wet meadows, marshes, bogs, ponds, swamps and shallow, meandering streams.
Coachwhip - Commonly found in SE North Carolina, SW Tennessee, extreme SE Illinois, extreme SW Nebraska, E Colorado, north central New Mexico, SW Utah, west central and S Nevada, central California, and S through Florida and Texas. Attains a maximum length of about 102 inches. Prefers dry, relatively open pine and palmetto flatwoods, rocky hillsides, grassland prairies, desert scrub, and chapparal. Found from sea level to 7,000 feet.
Ringneck Snake - Commonly found from Nova Scotia to Florida Keys, west to the Pacific coast, south to central Mexico. Attains a maximum length of 30 inches. Prefers moist areas in varied habitat; forest, grassland, rocky wooded hillsides, chaparral, upland desert and along streams. Found from sea level to 7,000 feet.
Rat Snake - Commonly found from E Ontario and S Vermont south to Florida Keys, west to W Texas, north to SW Minnesota and S Michigan. Attains a maximum length of about 100 inches. Prefers hardwood forest, wooded canyons, swamps, rocky timbered upland, farmland, old fields and barnyards. Found from sea level to 4,400 feet. Sometimes mistaken for Cottonmouth Moccasin. However, the Ratsnake is narrow bodied, thin and long. The Cottonmouth Moccasin is much more heavy bodied and thick.
Eastern Hognose Snake - Commonly found from eastern-central Minnesota to extreme S New Hampshire, south to S Florida, west to E Texas and W Kansas. Attains a maximum length of about 45 inches. Prefers open sandy soiled areas; thinly wooded upland hillsides, cultivated fields and woodland meadows. Found from sea level to 2,500 feet. Sometimes mistaken for Cottonmouth Moccasin. The easiest way to discern the difference between the two is the Hognose's pointed, slightly upturned snout.
Racer - Commonly found in every state in the continental U.S., except Alaska. Attains a maximum length of 77 inches. Prefers abandoned fields, grassland, sparse brushy areas along prairie land, open woodland, mountain meadows, rocky wooded hillsides, grassy bordered streams and pine flatland. Found from sea level to 7,000 feet. Sometimes mistaken for Cottonmouth Moccasin. However, the Racer is narrow bodied, long and thin. The Cottonmouth Moccasin is much more heavy bodied and thick.
Milk Snake - Commonly found from SE Maine, S Wisconsin, central and southeast Minnesota south through most of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. Attains a maximum length of about 78 inches. Prefers damp coastal bottomland, tropical hardwood forests, pine forests, open deciduous woodland, meadows, rocky hillsides, prairies, sand dunes, farmland and suburban areas. Found from sea level to 8,000 feet. Commonly mistaken for Coral Snake, however the Milk Snake has red and black bands that are adjacent. On the Coral Snake, red and yellow bands are adjacent. Remember the jingle, "Red and black, friend of Jack; red and yellow kill a fellow".
Pine Snake - Considering all the sub-species, this snake is found in most of the western US and also in the southeast. It is a large snake, usually 44 - 100" long. It is powerfully built, and because of its appearance, is sometimes mistaken for a rattlesnake. It prefers, dry, sandy pine-oak woodlands, cultivated fields, rocky desert and chapparal. Found from sea level to 9,000'.
Queen Snake - This widely distributed snake is found in most parts of the eastern US except New England and Florida. It prefers areas near streams and small rivers. Its size ranges from 16 - 36".
Southeastern Crowned Snake - A small snake usually 5 - 13" long, it prefers pine and hardwood forests where the soil is most. It is found from Virginia southwest to the Gulf coast.
Northern Water Snake - Often mistaken for a Cottonmouth Moccasin and found in aquatic situations from sea level to about 4,800'. It ranges from Maine to the coast of North Carolina and south to Georgia and Alabama.
Common Kingsnake - Ranges in size from 36 - 82". Prefers dry rocky wooded hillsides to river swamps, coastal marshes, desert and chappral. Found from sea level to about 6,900'. Range is from south New Jersey to to south Florida and west to California and Mexico.
Corn Snake - Ranges in size from 24 - 72", prefers wooded groves, rocky hillsides, meadowland, around springs, barnyards and abandoned houses. Found from sea level to 6,000'. Found from south New Jersey south through Florida and west to Texas, and also in eastern Utah and western Colorado.
Gopher Snake - Considering all the sub-species, this snake is found in most parts of the US. Because of its appearance and aggressive behavior when cornered, it is often mistaken for a rattlesnake.
Ground Snake - This is a small snake, usually 9 - 19" long and will usually be found in dry open areas, rocky wooded hillsides, along river beds and in brushy desert. Ranges from Texas and Oklahoma west to California and north to Nevada, Oregon and Idaho.
Rubber Boa - Size is usually 14 – 33 inches, and looks rubbery. Prefers damp woodlands and coniferous forests. Ranges from British Columbia to S California, eastward to Montana, Wyoming and Utah. Found from seal level to 9,200 ft.
Rosy Boa - Size is usually 24 – 42 inches. Prefers desert, arid scrub, brushland, rocky chaparral covered hills, particularly where moisture is available. Found from S California into N Baja California and SW Arizona. Found from sea level to about 4,000 ft.
Glossy Snake - Size is about 26 – 70 inches, prefers dry, open sandy areas, coastal chaparral, sagebrush flats and oak-hickory woodland. Found from sea level to 5,500 ft. Range is from SE Texas and extreme SW Nebraska west to central California, south into Mexico.
Scarlet Snake - Size ranges from 15 to about 32 inches; often mistaken for Coral Snake, but Scarlet’s wide red bands are separated by narrower black-bordered yellow bands, and the bands do not encircle the body. Likes hardwood, mixed or pine forest and open areas with sandy or loamy well drained soils. Found from S New Jersy to S Florida, west to E Oklahoma and E Texas and S Texas.
Western Shovel-nosed Snake - A small snake; usually only 10 – 17 inches. Ranges from south central Nevada south into Baja California. Prefers arid desert, sandy washes, dunes and rocky hillsides. Found from sea level to about 4,700 ft.
Mud Snake - Length is usually 38 – 81 inches. Likes swampy, weedy lake margins, slow moving, mud bottomed streams and floodplains. Found from SE Virginia to S Florida, west to E Texas and north in Mississippi Valley to S Illinois.
Rainbow Snake - Size is 35 – 66 inches. Prefers areas of loose sandy soil near water and marshland. Found from S Maryland south to central Florida, and west to Mississippi River.
Western Hognose Snake - Usually 16 – 35 inches long, likes sand and gravelly soiled prairie, scrubland and river floodplains. Found from sea level to 8,000 ft. Range is from SE Alberta and NW Manitoba south to SE Arizona, Texas and into N Mexico.
Night Snake - 12 – 26 inches long, slender and cylindrical body, usually beige. Likes semiarid and arid sandy or rocky areas from plains and desert flats to heavy brush chaparral and blue oak-Digger pine woodland. Found from sea level to 7,000 ft. Ranges from north central California, south central Washington, S Idaho, Utah and SW Kansas south through Baja California.
Prairie Kingsnake - Usually 30 – 52 inches in length. Likes open fields, cultivated farmland, barnyards, pastures, prairies, rocky hillsides and open woodland. Ranges from central Maryland to north Florida, west to SE Nebraska and E Texas.
California Mountain Kingsnake - Usually 20 – 40 inches long. Found in Sierra Nevada yellow pine belt, Coast Ranges chapparal, redwood forests south of San Francisco Bay; sea level to 8,000 ft. Range is from Kern County, CA north along western slope of Sierra Nevada Mountains into SW Oregon, southward in eastern portion of Coast Ranges to San Francisco Bay area, and south in mountains in scattered populations to north central Baja California.
Striped Whipsnake - Usually 40 – 72 inches in length. Likes grassland and arid brushy flatland to rugged mountains. Range is from south central Washington to S New Mexico and west and central Texas.
Plain-bellied Water Snake - Length is 30 – 62 inches. Likes river swamps and the forested edges of streams, ponds, lakes and bayous. Ranges from S Delware to N Florida, west through Alabama to W Texas and southeast New Mexico, north to W Missouri and S Illinois and Indiana.
Long-nosed Snake - Size is 22 – 41 inches, likes dry open prairie, desert brushland coastal chaparral to tropical habitat in Mexico. Found from sea level to 5,400 ft. Ranges from SW Kansaas, SE Colorado and New Mexico south into Mexico and NW to Arizona, W Utah, Nevada and central California.
Red-bellied Snake - A small snake, only 8 – 16 inches long. Likes mountains and hilly woodlands. Ranges from SE Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia, south to central Florida and west to E Texas. Found from sea level to 5,600 ft.
Plains Black-headed Snake - Usually 7 – 15 inches in length, likes rocky and grassy prairie and hillsides where soil is moist. Range is from S Nebraska south through W Kansas and E Colorado to S Texas, New Mexico, SE Arizona and into Mexico.
DeKay's Brown Snake - Usually 10 – 20 inches long. Likes moist upland woodland to lowland freshwater and saltwater marshes; margins of swamps, bogs and ponds; vacant lots, gardens, golf courses. Ranges from S Maine, S Quebec, and S Minnesota, south to Florida panhandle, and through Texas and Mexico to N Honduras.
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake - With a name like this, it just had to be included here. Usually 18 – 42 inches in length, likes moist places near water, and margins of streams, ponds, lakes, damp meadows, open grassland to forest. Found from sea level to 10,500 ft. Range is from SW Manitoba and S British Columbia southward into Mexico, extreme SW South Dakota and extreme W Oklahoma west to Pacific coast.