Common North American Snakes
150 snake species call North America home.
North American venomous snakes belong to the pit viper family and include rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads, and coral snakes. They are found throughout the United States.
Non-venomous snakes are much more diverse. Though common types like garter snakes, kingsnakes, milk snakes, racers, and water snakes can be found throughout the Nearctic region, specific species vary by state.
What states have the most snakes?
In general, the Western and Southern states see the most diversity.
Texas tops the charts with 68 different snake species. With 52 different species, Nevada is a close second. On the other end of the spectrum, you won’t find any snakes in Alaska due to the cold climate.
In the Western United States, species like the California mountain kingsnake, rubber boa, and the common garter snake are found in abundance. The southern states are home to eastern racers, southern watersnakes, Great Plains ratsnakes, and the common kingsnake. Southern snakes also include various species of invasive pythons and boas.
The northeastern region of the U.S. supports populations of the milk snake, the northern black racer, the northern water snake, and the smooth green snake.
How to Identify Types of Snakes
All snakes have long, scaly bodies with no legs and no ears. Their forked tongues help them smell, and they are able to unhinge the bottom half of their jaw from the top in order to swallow their prey whole. As cold-blooded reptiles, they regulate their body temperature by spending many hours basking in the sun and must hibernate in regions with harsh winters.
Snakes range in color from black, brown, and tan, to green and orange. They may be solid in color or display patterns.
Snakes occupy a number of different habitats. Water snakes, for example, spend a fair amount of time underwater. Species of green snakes often live in trees. Most species prefer cool, dark, and moist areas like gardens with mulch, basements, barn lofts, unkempt lawns, and abandoned lots or fields.
Problems Caused by Snakes
Since snakes eat various species of rodents and insects, their presence generally benefits property owners. However, the fear they incite is reason enough to not want them around. Additionally, all species of snakes have sharp teeth and are capable of inflicting painful bites. Venomous species are especially dangerous, as their bites can be fatal.
Control & Removal
Property owners can reduce the possibility of encountering snakes by making their homes and yards less favorable to common snake prey. This entails maintaining the cleanliness of homes, mowing lawns regularly, cleaning out clutter from basements and attics, and storing food in rodent-proof containers.
In the event of a snake infestation, do not approach the pests. To avoid injury, property owners should instead contact Critter Control to take advantage of our professional wildlife removal services.
Learn more about snake removal.