People have always had a love-hate relationship with snakes. It is because they terrify people and also tend to fascinate others at the same time. To some, snakes are creatures of the dark. To others, they are medicine. Did you know that there are approximately 50 species of snakes you might come across in Alabama? 6 of these are venomous! It would be cool to learn a bit more about them for our knowledge and our safety.
The way snakes eat is dependent on their sizes. Larger snakes may prey on rodents, fish, frogs, lizards, and other snakes. The smaller snakes feed totally on insects, earthworms, and small vertebrates they can overpower, for instance.
Since snakes are cold-blooded reptiles, they are likely to seek shelter and hunt in shady, damp, and cold areas on hot days, while they search for sunny areas they can warm up in on cool days.
Initial care for Snakebites
First things first. sucking out the poison doesn’t work. It possible, it would be best if we can identify the type of venomous snake that was encountered.
If a bite does occur, keep calm, and seek immediate medical assistance. Snake bites can be wrapped, but do not do it tightly. Also, do not use a tourniquet.
If the sort of snake isn’t known, venomous bites can often be identified by the accompaniment of intense pain and swelling. And, after about 10 minutes, the pain will become much worse.
Call Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. The poison specialist can determine if further treatment will be required.
Timber Rattlesnake (venomous)
Timber rattlesnakes have broadheads that are distinct from their narrow neck. Adult timber rattlesnakes average 36 to 60 inches in total length and are venomous snakes. Their color varies from blackish to yellowish to pinkish, or grayish with dark, bent cross bands aligned along the dorsal length of its body. On many specimens, a reddish dorsal stripe runs between the cross bands. The velvety black tail is brief and thick, tipped with a tan rattle. Timber rattlesnakes inhabit hardwood forest with rocky outcrops, Pine Flatwoods, bottomland hardwood forests, and cane thickets.
They are given their names because the head is triangular with its top typically copper in color. The body’s color varies from a light brown to tan or pinkish in the southern copperhead, and a darker, more reddish-brown body color. Because of a pit, or a tiny hole located between the eye and nostrils, they are commonly called “pit vipers”. In addition, these pits are heat-seeking sensors that help the snake locate warm-blooded prey. Copperheads have elliptical pupils. Pit vipers have a set of well-developed fangs capable of injecting venom.
Eastern coachwhips are nonpoisonous snakes. Adults are 50-72 inches long on average. Their head and neck are typically black with the body gradually lightening to a tan-colored tail. They need large heads with strong jaws.
Eastern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
The body’s color can range from green to dark brown. The body has dark, diamond-shaped blotches outlined with cream or yellow and a lighter center. There are diagonal, whitish stripes on the side of the triangular head. In addition, It’s facial pits and elliptical pupils just like that of the other pit vipers. This snake is the most dangerous of venomous snakes in Alabama. Don’t get too close to this one!
A heavy triangular head with facial pits, elliptical pupils, and less prominent eyes help distinguish this snake from harmless water snakes. The body is olive or dark brown in color with wide blackish cross bands.
Eastern grass snake
Eastern garter is small to a medium-sized snake. Adult garter snakes are usually between 18-26 inches long but may reach 36 inches long. New-born garter snakes are typically between 5-9 inches long. The garter snake’s color varies across its geographic range. Typically, these snakes have three yellow stripes running down the length of their backs.
This snake’s body color is dark-gray often with an orange or rusty mid-line stripe. It has five rows of sooty spots or short dark crossbars with a tail that is comparatively long.
Eastern Coral Snake
The body has patterns characterized by black, yellow, and red rings. Note that the yellow and red rings are beside each other. The snout is black with a broad yellow band across the bottom of the top and a good black neck ring. Bites from this snake are rare. It’s an elapid with venom almost like that of a cobra. Remember, “Red touch yellow will kill a fellow”.
Northern Storeria occipitamaculata
This species may be a small snake about 16 inches, typically with a blunt head. Their colors vary from gray to brown, and sometimes black. Three spots somewhat fused appearing as a collar appears on their necks. The color of the belly is usually in stark contrast with the remainder of the snake. Often found hiding under leaf litter, logs, and other cover objects within hardwood forests and around wetland edges. They like their habitats to be relatively moist and well shaded.
Red Milk Snake
The red milk snake is a medium-sized snake that will reach a length of 40 inches. The dorsal surface of the snake has black-bordered red saddles with alternating lateral smaller blotches. The belly is white and has large rectangular markings arranged irregularly in a checkerboard fashion. Red milk snakes like dry, open woodlands and woodland edges. They seek shelter in rock outcrops and under logs.
Southern Hog-nosed Snake
Typically a short, stout-bodied, nonpoisonous snake. Adult lengths are typically 14 to 21 inches long. The longest recorded length is 24 inches. The foremost distinguishing feature is the sharply upturned and pointed snout. Adults snakes are yellowish-gray or brown in color, often with orange-red tinges on the rear. Color patterns on the body contain rows of squarish, dark blotches down the rear alternating with smaller ones on the edges.
Western Smooth Earth Snake
The western smooth earth snake is a small, slightly stout, plain-colored snake with a conical head. Their color can vary from gray to light brown or to reddish-brown. It has no distinct markings. The belly is plain white or cream-colored.
The Brown Snake is most common in the north of Buhrstone/Lime Hills in Alabama. Often encountered around human dwellings and erroneously called “ground rattler”.
Gray Rat Snake
A large, moderately stout snake attaining a maximum length of about 101 inches. The grey rat subspecies is slightly smaller than the roof rat subspecies, attaining a maximum length of only about 84 inches. The roof rat snake is more common in north Alabama, while the grey colubrid snake is more common in the south.
The gray colubrid snake features a gray background color with brown to dark gray blotches. The belly is white with box-like dark gray to brownish blotches and dark spots under the tail.
Eastern milk snake
Eastern milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum Triangulum) are medium-sized snakes that home in total length from 24-52 inches. The dorsal surface of those snakes typically is gray to tan in color with black-bordered dark gray or brownish blotches (red in juveniles) down the rear with similar smaller blotches on the sides of the body. a light-weight colored Y or V-shaped patch is present on the nape of the neck or the rear of the top. The venter (belly) has rectangular black markings that always are arranged during a checkerboard fashion.
There are two subspecies of worm snakes, Eastern worm snake thunder snake amoenus and Midwest worm snake thunder snake helenae. Worm snakes thunder snake species are small secretive snakes only reaching 13 inches long. They need a pointed head and really noted tiny black eyes. They even have a prominent sharp tip on the tail which is perhaps used for digging. The color varies from a dark brown to a pinkish brown on the rear and nearly always with a pinkish belly. Worm snakes greatly resemble earthworms which is how they got their name.
Southeastern Crowned Snake
This is one of Alabama’s smallest snakes. The body is unpatterned and should be peach, tan, or brown. The top is black with a light-weight collar. Scales are smooth.
The ring-necked snake may be a small, slender snake that will reach a length of about 18 inches, though some are captured up to 24 inches (average 10 to fifteen inches). Its head is little, somewhat flattened with a rounded snout, and is darker in color than the remainder of the body. It’s a slate blue to the gray-black body. It’s a narrow yellow or cream-colored ring round the neck from whence it gets its name. The belly may be yellow to orange with one row of black half-moons down its midline. Ring neck snakes are found in wooded, terrestrial type habitats, commonly under objects like stumps, logs, and leaf litter, and may be found in gardens, flower beds, and infrequently in salt marshes.
A relatively small aquatic snake with a slender body measuring 15-24 inches long. Females are generally larger than males. Usually, brown in color but can vary from gray to green, with three dark stripes that are faint running along the upper body and yellow or golden stripe along the lower sides of the body. The belly is yellowish and marked with four brown stripes. Queen snakes are highly aquatic snakes most ordinarily found in smaller streams and rivers with moving water, but also can be found in ponds and lakes.
Western Pigmy Rattlesnake
There are three subspecies of pigmy rattlesnakes (Carolina pigmy, dusky pigmy, and western pigmy), all of which occur in Alabama. Generally, pigmy rattlesnakes, as their name would imply, are miniature rattlesnakes. Sometimes mentioned as “ground rattlers”, they vary long from 15 to 24 inches at maturity, and when during a coiled position are roughly the dimensions of a frankincense pine cone. The tip of their tail contains a really small delicate rattle or button that’s not much wider than the top of the tail itself. When vibrated for a warning, the rattle is usually difficult to listen to and has been compared to the sound of an insect buzzing.
A large snake and one among the foremost beautiful reptiles in Alabama. Scales are shiny and typically smooth; sometimes keeled above the anal region. Three prominent, red, longitudinal stripes contrast against a black to bluish back. Two bold, longitudinal rows of black spots separate a rose-colored band from two lateral lemon-colored bands on the belly. From the edges, lateral yellow scale rows suggest a basal, yellow-orange stripe when the snake is crawling, or at rest. Eye gray to dark-blue with a carmine rim. Wedge-shaped, blackhead barely wider than the neck. Scales around the mouth and beneath head lemon-yellow. Anal scale usually divided, but occasionally single.
Plain-Bellied water snake
Plain-bellied water snakes are relatively large, thick-bodied, harmless, semi-aquatic snakes. They often are often seen sunning on logs or overhanging branches from which they drop into the water when alarmed. These snakes often are confused with the venomous cottonmouth/water moccasin. They will, however, bite hard and repeatedly when cornered or captured. Plain-bellied water snakes are often found during a sort of aquatic habitats but are commonest in larger, more permanent bodies of water like rivers, swamps, marshes, and ponds.
Northern bull snake
The Northern bull snake features a moderately stout body. Head only slightly wider than the neck, undivided anal scute, scales keeled apart from a number of lowermost rows, rostral scute (at the tip of the nose) enlarged, curving backward and ending during a point between and behind nostrils. Dorsal ground color white, cream, yellowish, or gray, with 25-31 dark blotches. This snake prefers pen areas with early vegetation, especially habitats subjected to occasional fire, preferred as are dry, forested, or partially forested areas where the soil is fairly sandy or loose and gravelly.
Mud snakes are large aquatic snakes that attain lengths up to 80 inches, but generally are 40 to 65 inches long. The scales of the mud snake are smooth, with a glossy black color on the dorsal and a bright red or pink and black checkerboard pattern on the ventral. The mud snake features a sharp point on the top of its tail. This snake is extremely docile and refuses to bite, but its habit of pressing the spine-like tip of the tail against the captor’s skin gives rise to the misunderstanding that the mud snake can sting. Thus, the common nicknames “horned snake” and “stinging snake.” Southern folklore also holds that the mud snake can take its tail in its mouth and roll sort of a wheel, giving rise to the common name “hoop snake.”
The Red Corn snake may be a medium-sized to rather a large snake attaining a maximum length of about 72 inches. Corn snakes have black-bordered red or dark orange blotches that run down the center of the rear, on an orange or brownish-orange background color. Two alternating rows of smaller blotches line all sides, extending into the belly scales. Found in wooded groves, rocky hillsides, meadowlands, around springs, woodlots, barnyards, and abandoned houses. This occurs in greatest abundance around abandoned farms and other places where small rodents are likely to thrive.
The blacksnake (Coluber constrictor) may be a relatively long and slender snake. They’re usually between three and five feet long, but some individuals may reach lengths of quite six feet. Black racers are, because the name implies, solid deep black in color on their top. Their bellies vary from dark gray to black, and a few white frequently occurs on the chin and throat. Their eyes are brown, and their scales are smooth. Young snakes are tan or grayish in color with a series of brown or reddish blotches running down the middle of the rear. The color pattern present in juveniles fades to black as they get older. Black racers are an alert and really active species. They’re quick to escape when approached but will fight aggressively when cornered.
Mississippi Green water snake
Mississippi green water snakes (Nerodia cyclopion) are medium-sized snakes, 30-45 inches long, and no distinctive field marks. They do, however, have a row of scales between the eyes and lips which positively identifies them. They’re green to brown with some darker pigmentation on their dorsal (top) side. Their belly has light spots resembling half-moons against a consistent gray or brown background. Their scales are keeled and therefore the anal scale is split.
Glossy Crayfish Snake
A small and slender snake. The rear is usually green although it’s going to appear almost yellow on the brink of the belly. a few narrow stripes could also be seen running down the length of the body. The belly is light-colored with two rows of dark spots that unite to become one as they approach the animal’s throat. Scales are keeled.
The scarlet kingsnake may be a non-venomous small snake rarely reaching lengths of quite two feet. Its vibrant colors of red black and yellow make it one of the foremost beautiful snakes found in Alabama. Due to its secretive nature and moving mainly in the dark, they’re rarely encountered. The typical size of an adult snake is 14 to twenty inches. Adults have red, black, and yellow rings that encircle the whole body. Both the yellow and red rings are surrounded by black rings therefore the red and yellow rings never touch.
Northern Scarlet Snake
Scarlet snakes are non-venomous and typically 14-20 inches long. They’re one among three “tricolored” snakes found in Alabama. They’re very similar in appearance to the scarlet king snake. Both snakes are brilliantly colored with red, yellow, and black bands. Scarlet snakes, like scarlet kingsnakes, have red bands that don’t contact yellow bands. Their heads are red and their snouts are pointed. Their red bands are wider than are their black and yellow bands. Scarlet snakes are found in forested habitats having dry sandy soils. They’re terrestrial burrowers, typically found under rocks, rotten logs, leaf litter, or debris like roofing tin, boards, or trash.
Florida bull snake
One of Alabama’s largest (max. length approx. 229 cm [90 in.]) snakes. The dorsal color pattern of alternating dark rusty brown and cream-colored blotches often indistinct anteriorly, becoming distinct posteriorly; each scale trimmed in dark brown pigment. Individuals may vary from light gray anteriorly to rusty-brown posteriorly. Body moderately stout, but head only slightly wider than the neck. A key character is that the markedly pointed snout with an enlarged rostral scale for pushing into the soft earth. Belly immaculate white, but darker dorsal blotches may color the edges of the ventral scales. Often makes a startlingly loud hissing sound when cornered and frightened.
Eastern Thamnophis Sauritus
The eastern Thamnophis sauritus may be a small nonvenomous snake that gets its name from its very thin body. At maturity, adults can range from 16-28 inches long. Its color scheme consists of a brown back and white belly with two light yellow lateral stripes running down the side and one light yellow vertebral stripe down the middle of the rear. The lateral stripes are separated from the belly by a golden, brown, or yellowish-orange mid-dorsal stripe. The Thamnophis sauritus features a sequence of 19 keeled scales, which are rough to the touch with a ridge within the center of every scale. Lip scales are uniformly yellowish or white with no markings between them. The tail of the Thamnophis sauritus accounts for about one-third of the total linear unit.
Southern water snake
The Southern water snake may be a non-venomous snake normally but 4 feet long. Lengths up to five feet are reported. It’s commonly dark brown in color with lighter broad bands throughout the length of the body. The Southern colubrid snake also features a dark stripe extending from the attention to the corner of its mouth. This snake often has squared reddish belly spots and is usually confused with the cottonmouth – which in contrast, has no reddish belly spots.
Midland Water snake
Midland Water Snakes are common statewide, except southernmost portions of land, were apparently confined to the immediate vicinity of Conecuh, Yellow, and Choctawhatchee Rivers. A conspicuous inhabitant of ponds, lakes, and streams, and therefore the most often encountered colubrid snake within the northern two-thirds of Alabama. The Midland Snake may be a heavy-bodied aquatic snake that may be commonly confused with the venomous Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin. This snake features a highly variable color pattern. Most have a light-weight brown to the grey background color and have dark brown to black blotches/bands on their backs.
Eastern gopher snake
The Eastern gopher snake is a large nonpoisonous, stout-bodied snake averaging six to seven feet long. The most important individual recorded was eight-and-a-half-feet. The gopher snake is smooth scaled and uniform glossy blue-black throughout its body apart from some orange or cream color suffusion on its throat, cheeks, and chin. This coloration varies with some individuals having distinct coloration et al. with no coloration.
Smaller indigo snakes are easily mistaken for the common blacksnake. A close examination is required to inform them apart. The common black snake may be a slender, fast-paced snake. The gopher snake maybe a stout, slow-moving snake. A definite difference between the gopher snake and therefore the blacksnake is that the anal plate is entire on the indigo and divided on the blacksnake. Another snake that’s sometimes mistaken for the gopher snake is that the black bull snake. Black pine snakes inhabit a number of equivalent geographic locations because of the indigo but are easily differentiated. Black pine snakes have keeled scales. The gopher snake has smooth scales.
Rough Earth Snake
Rough earth snakes are small fairly slender snakes, starting from 7 to 12 ¾” long. Their color varies, sometimes sepia, brown, or gray, and should be any shade between. This snake’s scales are keeled and their snout is pointed. Their underbelly maybe a cream to yellowish in color that’s not sharply defined from the color of their back.
Can attain a length of quite 140 centimeters (approx. 4.5 feet), although specimens seldom exceed one meter (three feet). Head scarcely larger than neck and somewhat depressed. General ground color varies from tan to brownish gray. A row of roughly 60 brown or rusty black-edged blotches runs down the rear, alternating with rows of smaller blotches on the edges, which sometimes fuse together (Johnson 1987). In some older specimens, the bottom color darkens, and therefore the pattern becomes obscure or maybe resembles faint longitudinal stripes. Belly creamy to yellow, with squarish brown blotches (Anderson 1965). The opposite subspecies, the mole kingsnake, more cosmopolitan in Alabama, typically features a more brownish to rusty ground color, and therefore the dorsal blotches are somewhat greater in number (Mount 1975).
Mole kingsnakes are unlikely to succeed in lengths greater than 4.5 feet. Its base color is usually brown, though pink or yellowish hues could also be present. Mole kingsnakes have dark brown or reddish, saddle-like blotches along their back; along its side are additional blotches that alternate in spacing with the dorsal pattern. Mole kingsnakes likely prey on a good sort of small mammals, lizards, and other similar-sized prey.
A relatively long (usually 98-122 cm [3-4 ft.], but up to 2.1 m [6.9 ft.] total length), cylindrically bodied, the supple snake with a head only slightly wider than the neck. Easily distinguished by smooth, polished, black to dark brown scales on back and sides brightly overlaid with a series of 23 to 52 narrow, cream, or yellow transverse bands. Some bands could also be broken and sometimes terminate, or are linked together, on the lower sides. Belly usually checkered or mottled with black and yellow. Juveniles have the same color pattern as adults (Krysko 2001). Anal scale undivided and there are 21 or 23 mid-body scale rows. One of three distinct subspecies in Alabama (Mount 1975).
Diamond-Backed Water Snake
Diamondback water snakes (Nerodia rhombifer) are relatively large, thick-bodied snakes. Human body lengths usually range from 3 to five feet. They’re greenish-brown to brown in color with dark blotches down their backs. The dark blotches are diamond-shaped patterns for which the snakes are named. The bellies of diamondback water snakes are yellow with dark spots. Their scales are keeled suggesting that they’re rough. Like most other North American water snakes, diamondback water snakes are extremely aggressive and can bite hard and repeatedly if cornered. These snakes are non-venomous, however, so their bite is comparatively harmless (other than a couple of scratches and therefore the possibility of infection).
Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake
Eastern hognose snakes are sometimes called as “puff adders”. They’re called “hognose” because of their upturned snout and broadhead. Many of us mistake them for a venomous species due to their broadhead. Their coloration varies from almost uniformly black, to brown, to olive, or grey; or they’ll have irregular patterns of dark blotches down the rear, alternating with dark spots on all sides. Yellow, brown, gray, olive, orange, and red color usually mottle their background color. The underside of their tail is typically a lighter color than the remainder of their belly. They’re thick-bodied snakes that will reach 46 inches long, but usually are 20-30 inches long.
Eastern Green water snake
This is an outsized and hulking animal, reaching lengths of over six feet. The patterning is comparatively nondescript and therefore the snake generally appears to be a consistent dark or dull green with the color becoming lighter on the snake’s sides. Dark bands could also be visible on both the snake’s back and sides, particularly in younger snakes.
The Black Kingsnake grows to 58 inches long. It black with traces of yellow or white spots, or bands above and features a white throat. Their heads are typically small and barely distinct from the neck, the bodies are cylindrical, the scales smooth, and that they have one anal scale. The black kingsnake, like all kingsnakes, will frequently rattle their tail, release musk, and bite upon capture.
Brown Water Snake
Brown water snakes are large snakes that will reach a complete length of 30-55 inches. The longest one on record was almost 70 inches long. Adults are light tan with darker squarish brown blotches down their back. Additional dark squarish markings extend upwards from their belly onto the edges of their body between the dorsal blotches.
Black bull snake
A large snake with a moderately stout body, short tail, and little head only slightly wider than the neck. Anal scute undivided; scales keeled apart from a number of lowermost rows, rostral scute (at the tip of snout) enlarged, curving backward and ending during a point between and behind nostrils. Adults almost uniform black or dark brown, but occasional specimens may have a couple of white scales or a trace of a pattern. Young tend to possess a pattern of black blotches on the brown background along with the posterior three-fourths of the body that darkens with age.
Black Speckled Kingsnake
The Black Speckled Kingsnake is dark brown to black with a white, yellow, or cream-colored spot within the center of nearly all dorsal scales. For many of the body, spots give the snake a salt-and-pepper appearance. However, the sunshine spots periodically align across the rear of most people from Alabama to make thin cross bands at regular intervals down the rear. They will grow to over 5 feet long.
Eastern Smooth Earthsnake
The Eastern Wood Snake is common statewide. Usually inhabits more wooded areas than the rough earth snake to which it’s similar in appearance. The eastern smooth earth snake may be a small, slightly stout, plain-colored snake with a conical head. The color is gray to brown or sepia. It’s no distinct markings. The belly is obviously white or cream-colored.
Gulf Saltmarsh Snake
Gulf salt marsh snakes are medium-sized water snakes. They reach a maximum length of 36 inches. Four stripes highlight the upper parts of the body. Two stripes typically are brown while two stripes are lighter tan or yellowish in color. The gulf salt marsh snake’s belly is darker in color but features a conspicuous light stripe down the middle. These snakes have keeled scales.
North Florida Swamp Snake
The North Florida Swampsnake may be a small aquatic snake with a shiny, black back and red belly. Scales shiny and smooth; lower scale rows with a faint, longitudinal line, giving the looks of keeled scales. The belly has black square blotches infused peripherally between the red, ventral scales. This snake frequents canals, ditches, cypress ponds, lakes, and swamps, especially those with lush vegetation. Collected from ponds by pulling dense aquatic vegetation on to shore, or by inspecting under boards and debris near the sides of ponds.
Pine Woods Litter Snake
The body is yellowish-brown to reddish and unmarked. Its head is slightly darker than the body. The belly is pale yellow-cream. Lips are white, and a thin, dark stripe runs from the eye to the corner of the jaw. It is similar to brown snakes and earth snakes, but they lack a dark eye stripe. Scales are smooth. This snake lays eggs. This snake occasionally appears in residential areas.
Rough Green Snake
Rough green snakes are fairly long, slender snakes with long tapering tails. Adults are usually between 20 and 32 inches long, but occasionally could also be as long as 40 inches. They typically are 1 inch or less in diameter. Rough green snakes are a consistent bright green color with ivory or off white belly and a pale white throat. Rough green snakes have large eyes and particularly good vision. This enables them to ascertain and capture quick-moving insects which are often an equivalent color because of the snakes themselves. Rough green snakes have keeled (ridged) scales. This provides them a rougher feel than a similar smooth green snake.