Louisiana is home to 48 snake species, of which 7 are venomous. Being able to identify the snakes, and knowing which are venomous and non-venomous can be very beneficial.
We have identified the most common snakes you can encounter in Louisiana, helping you identify the snake you just saw in your backyard or when out in nature.
Table of Contents
Are There Venomous Snakes in Louisiana
Yes, there are seven venomous snakes in Louisiana, which are all listed below. There are some things you should know when it comes to the venomous snakes of Louisiana, which includes what to do if you or a loved one happens to encounter one and is bitten.
- Call 911 immediately to seek urgent medical attention
- You will need to start anti-venom as soon as possible to reverse any damage from the venom
- Take a photograph of the snake if you can or take note of any markings and features
- Remain calm
- Lay down, keeping the area where the snake bite is in a neutral position
- Remove watches and rings before swelling starts
- Wash the bite area with soap and water
- Use a dry, clean dressing over the bite area.
- Try and trap or pick up the snake
- Do not wait for symptoms to appear, get medical attention immediately
- Do not cut the wound open
- Do not create a tourniquet
- Never suck out the venom
- Do not drink alcohol to ease the pain
- Don’t use ice or place the bite area in water
- Don’t take any pain relievers until told to do so by the medical team.
Venomous Snakes in Louisiana
The 7 venomous snakes you may encounter in Louisiana include:
1. Northern Cottonmouth
The Northern Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is a pit viper that belongs to the Crotalinae family and is a venomous snake. It is a semi-aquatic viper and native to the southeastern United States.
This large snake can deliver a painful and fatal bite. When they feel threatened, they coil their body and display their fangs. They are often found near shallow lakes and slow-moving streams. They are good swimmers.
As an adult, the Northern Cottonmouth can grow to eighty centimeters with females being slightly smaller than males. This snake has a broad head that is distinct from the neck. The snout is blunt. There are up to twenty-seven keeled dorsal scales.
Juveniles tend to be completely black, except for the head. They can be brown, tank black, gray, or yellow-olive with up to seventeen dark brown to black cross bands. The cross bands have black edges. This banding fades as the snake ages.
Older snakes are uniform in color, usually gray-brown, black, or olive-brown. They have a white, tan, or yellow-white belly. They are often confused with copperheads, especially when young.
The snake is usually encountered close to water, including streams, swamps, ponds, lakes, marshes, and creeks. They are sometimes encountered in brackish water habitats and salt water. It is important to note that they are not restricted to aquatic habitats and can be encountered in moist areas, including pine-palmetto forests, pine woods, pine flat woods, beach areas, and palmetto thickets.
When threatened, they may vibrate the tail, throwing the head backward and opening the mouth to display the white interior. They will hiss loudly while pulling the neck and front of the body into an S-shape. It is also known to flatten the body and emit a foul secretion. The secretion is ejected in thin jets.
They are mostly active during the day and are seen stretched out in the shade or basking in the sunlight. The venom is highly toxic, although it is not commonly fatal. The bite can leave scars and in rare cases, require amputation. Symptoms associated with a Northern Cottonmouth bite include swelling and sometimes, severe tissue destruction.
2. Eastern Copperhead
The Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) is a pit viper and endemic to eastern North America. It is a very distinctive snake with hourglass-shaped markings on a brown-gray or red-brown background. This is a heavy snake.
Juveniles are born with a yellow tail tip, which darkens as they age. This snake can grow to ninety-five centimeters as an adult. They are commonly encountered in mixed woodlands and deciduous forests, along with low-lying swamp areas. They hibernate in winter.
They are very common in Louisiana and often encountered. They tend to freeze rather than move away, relying on their camouflage. Bites commonly occur when someone accidentally stands on or near the snake.
They have a stout body, broad head, and twenty-five dorsal scales at the midbody. This snake is pale tan to pink-tan with up to nineteen cross bands. The cross bands are darker at the edges and lighter in the center.
The cross bands tend to divide in the midline and it’s not uncommon to come across these snakes with more half bands than full cross bands. There are brown spots on the flank. The tail has three brown cross bands and a gray area.
As Juveniles, the tail pattern is more distinct with a yellow tail tip. The head is unmarked with a pair of dark spots. They occupy a variety of habitats throughout Louisiana, including rocky outcrops and ledges, low-lying swamps, and forested areas.
Even though this snake is considered venomous, they are not aggressive and bites are rarely fatal. They are more likely to give a warning bite when threatened, injecting a very small amount of venom. Dry bites with no venom are very common with this snake species.
The bite symptoms associated with the Eastern Copperhead include pain, throbbing, swelling, nausea, and tingling. Immediate medical attention should be secured.
3. Timber Rattlesnake
Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus), also known as banded rattlesnakes or canebrake rattlesnakes are pit vipers. It is highly venomous and is found throughout Louisiana. They grow to around one hundred and fifty-two centimeters, weighing up to one thousand, five hundred grams.
This snake has keeled dorsal scales, arranged in twenty-six scale rows at the midbody and one hundred and seventy-seven ventral scale rows. They have black or dark brown cross bands on a gray or yellow-brown background. The cross bands are irregular zig-zags, though some are M or V-shaped.
Some have a rusty vertebral stripe. The belly is yellow with black markings. They are often encountered in rugged terrain in deciduous forests. Pregnant females prefer rocky ledges with higher temperatures. It’s not uncommon to see females basking in the sun just before they give birth.
They brumate in dens during winter, usually with copperheads and black rat snakes. The timber rattlesnake is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in North America with long fangs, highly dangerous venom, and large size.
They do give a lot of warnings before they strike. If disturbed or threatened, these snakes will rattle vigorously to warn the predator or human that is too close. If you think a timber rattlesnake bit you or someone you know, seek immediate medical attention.
4. Texas Coralsnake
Texas Coralsnakes (Micrurus tener) are venomous snakes belonging to the Elapidae family and endemic to the southern United States. This snake is black, and yellow, and has red rings. They can grow to one hundred and twenty-two centimeters in length.
The male is smaller than the female. They have smooth scales and rounded heads. This shy snake is nocturnal and secretive. They spend their time hiding under logs and leaf litter. You may see them after heavy rains.
They will bite, so do not try and capture them, touch them or pick them up. Their venom is a powerful neurotoxin that can cause neuromuscular dysfunction. Fatal bites have occurred in the United States, which is estimated at ten percent, usually due to cardiovascular and respiratory failure.
This snake has grooved fangs that inject venom. As a result, they do not need to bite and hold for a long period to deliver a high volume of venom. They can expel the venom very quickly, though the good news is the majority of bites from the Texas coral snake are dry bites, they do not contain any venom.
A bite from this snake should be considered a serious medical emergency and medical treatment should be secured immediately.
5. Pygmy Rattlesnake
Pygmy Rattlesnakes (Sistrurus miliarius) are venomous snakes, belonging to the pit viper family, Crotalinae. This small snake can grow to sixty centimeters.
They have oval or sub-circular spots on the back with regular edges. The flank spots are round. There are blotches present on the belly. Juveniles are similar to adults, though not as vividly marked. Juveniles have a yellow tail tip.
This snake is commonly encountered in sand hills, floodplains, mixed forests, and flat woods. They are usually found near marshes and lakes. It’s not uncommon to see this snake sunning itself on the road size.
They have a tiny rattle that buzzes and can only be heard when you are close to the snake. They are very aggressive and will strike. They do not produce much venom, therefore fatal bites are very rare.
They produce a cyctotoxic venom that has hemorrhagic and tissue toxicity results. You should seek medical attention if you think you have been bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake.
6. Eastern Coral Snake
Eastern Coral Snakes (Micrurus fulvius) are also known as American cobras and common coral snakes. They are highly venomous snakes belonging to the Elapidae family. They grow to no more than eighty centimeters in length with males having longer tails than females.
This snake has smooth dorsal scales with a ring pattern that encircles the body. The red and black rings are separated by a yellow ring. They have a black head.
They are commonly encountered in open areas, including high pines, scrub oak, and flat woods. They are common in sandy creek bottoms in Louisiana. The venom is a neurotoxin, causing slurred speech, muscle paralysis, respiratory failure, and double vision.
While fatalities are rare with only two documented fatalities since the 1950s, one of which was in 2009, it is advisable to secure immediate medical attention if you think you have been bitten by the Eastern coral snake.
This secretive snake is known for approximately one hundred bites every year throughout the United States. They cannot control how much venom is injected with each bite, therefore dry bites are common.
7. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
This (Crotalus adamanteus) is a pit viper in the Viperidae family and is endemic to the southeastern United States. It is the largest rattlesnake you may encounter in Louisiana. They can grow to 2.4 meters in length and weigh more than fifteen kilograms.
There are thirty-one dorsal scale rows at the midbody and one hundred and seventy-six ventral scale rows. This snake is typically brown, brown-gray, olive, or brown-yellow with up to thirty-five dark brown diamonds. The diamond-shaped pattern is outlined with cream or yellow scales. Close to the rear, the diamond shapes become more cross bands with mottling on the sides.
The belly is cream or yellow with dark mottling on the sides. There is a dark stripe from the eye toward the lip. This snake is often seen in dry pine forests, sand hills, coastline maritime hammocks, and swamp forests.
They are known to hide in tortoise or gopher burrows, only coming out in the afternoon or early morning. They are terrestrial and are not good climbers. They are good swimmers and are often seen swimming between islands.
These snakes are very individual and some will allow you to get close before they start to rattle, while others will start rattling, giving you more than enough notice of their location. Their rattle is very well-developed and you will hear it from far away.
They will raise the back of their body from the ground and they can strike at least one-third of their body length in distance. This snake will stand its ground, striking repeatedly. Sometimes they will retreat while facing the intruder.
The Eastern diamond rattlesnake has long fangs of more than twenty-five millimeters in length. A bite can cause instant pain, along with bleeding, a weak pulse, swelling, and limb discoloration.
Non-venomous Snakes in Louisiana
There are many non-venomous snakes in Louisiana. We are not going to be able to list them all here, but we will provide you with information on the most commonly encountered non-venomous snakes in Louisiana. Continue reading below to find out more.
8. Banded Watersnake
The Banded Watersnake (Nerodia fasciata) is an aquatic and non-venomous snake that grows to one hundred and seven centimeters in length. This green-gray or brown snake has dark cross bands.
They have a dark stripe that runs from the eye to the jaw on their flat heads. They will give off a foul-smelling odor if they feel threatened, which is used to deter predators. Due to the banding on the body, these snakes are often confused with venomous cottonmouths.
They are often encountered close to freshwater, including ponds, streams, marshes, and lakes. They are active during the day and night. They are often seen basking on branches that hang over the water.
9. Western Ribbon Snake
Western Ribbon Snakes (Thamnophis proximus) are garter snakes and belong to the Colubridae family. It is a very slender snake with the tail taking up more than a third of the body length. They can be olive, black, or brown.
This is a non-venomous snake and is often found near water. They are often seen basking on the short lines or in low bushes. They are solitary snakes, though they do hibernate in groups during the winter months in abandoned burrows.
They have excellent vision and are sensitive to vibrations, using their body color to camouflage themselves into their environment. They roll up and get low to the ground if you approach. If encountered, they will escape into the water.
10. Eastern Racer
Eastern Racers (Coluber constrictor) are non-venomous and belong to the Colubridae family. They are long snakes, growing to more than one hundred and fifty centimeters in length. Individuals vary considerably with some being a solid color, which varies from black to brown and tan to blue, or green.
All have a white, tan, or yellow belly. Juveniles have striking patterns with dark patches on a lighter background. As they age, they darken and the pattern fades. This is a fast-moving snake and very active.
They have excellent vision and are very curious. When encountered you may see them raising their head above the grass. When approached they will flee, using their fast speed to help them escape predators. If cornered, they will put up a fight and will bite. They also release a foul odor when captured, while vibrating their tails on dry leaves to mimic a rattlesnake.
This snake prefers moist habitats and is usually found near water. Though they can also be encountered on roadsides, in suburban areas, in trash piles, and brushes. They are excellent climbers and can climb up a tree to eat bird eggs and small birds.
11. Dekay’s Brownsnake
This snake (Storeria dekayi) is often referred to as a brown snake. It is a small non-venomous snake, belonging to the Colubridae family. They are brown or gray with a light center stripe and small black spots.
The belly is light brown, sometimes pink, with small black spots. They can grow to thirty centimeters. They can be encountered in a range of habitats including residential areas, grasslands, forests, and wetlands throughout Louisiana.
12. Diamondback Watersnake
The Diamondback Watersnake (Nerodia rhombifer) is a non-venomous snake that is dark brown or olive green. They have a black net-like pattern on their backs with diamond-shaped spots. This snake has bars and light coloring down the sides. The belly is light brown or yellow with black patches.
It has keeled scales and can grow to one hundred and twenty centimeters. Juveniles are light in color with pronounced patterns, which darken with age. They are often seen near slow-moving water including ponds, swamps, rivers, and streams.
They hang suspended from branches over the water and dip their head in the water until they see a fish. They also bask on the branches over the water. They will drop into the water and swim away if approached.
When cornered or they feel threatened, they hiss and flatten their head and body to make themselves look bigger than they are. If harassed, they can give a painful bite.
They are common in the pet industry and are kept as pets. They can become quite docile with regular handling.
13. Speckled Kingsnake
The Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki) can grow to one hundred and twenty centimeters in length. It has a pattern of the back with yellow to white patches on each of its scales. For this reason, they are often called salt and pepper snakes.
They prefer wetland habitats, including rivers and swamps. They can also be found in grassy fields and woodlands. If it feels threatened it will rattle its tail, hoping to deter any predators. It will also release a foul odor or bite. They are commonly kept as pets.
14. Western Ratsnake
Western Ratsnakes (Pantherophis obsoletus), also known as black snakes or black rat snakes are non-venomous and belong to the Colubridae family. They can live in a variety of habitats including rocky outcrops and wooded areas. This snake is an excellent climber and will spend a lot of time in trees. They are also excellent swimmers.
They share dens with venomous copperheads and timber rattlesnakes during the winter months. This is a relatively large snake that can grow to more than six feet in length and weigh more than two kilograms.
As juveniles, they have a pattern of brown patches on a gray background. They darken as they age. The adults are black with white throats, lips, and chins. They freeze when startled and will either flee or vibrate their tail.
They will produce a foul odor, causing any predators to release them. They are known to become aggressive and stand their ground. They have been known to use their size and agility, along with their strength, to overwhelm and kill avian predators, including owls and hawks.
They are popular pets in the United States and are captive-bred with many mutations available. They are docile pets and can live more than fifteen years in captivity.
15. Plain-bellied Watersnake
This (Nerodia erythrogaster) is a large and thick-bodied snake. They range from brown or gray to olive green, black, or green-gray. Lighter-colored snakes have dark patches. They can grow to more than one hundred and twenty centimeters.
Juveniles have a banding pattern on their backs. They are only encountered near permanent water sources, such as floodplains, ponds, rivers, and lakes. They are active during the day and night during the warm summer months and are often encountered basking on logs or swimming in the water.
16. Common Garter Snake
Common Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) have yellow stripes on a black or brown background. They can grow to fifty-five centimeters in length. This is a thin snake with stripes in a variety of colors. They are active in the morning and late afternoon during summer. They spend the cold winters in common dens in large numbers.
While they are non-venomous, they do have a venom that is toxic to small animals and amphibians. They can cause some irritation in humans, including itching, swelling, and burning. They also release a foul odor to deter predators.
They are commonly encountered near wetlands, marshes, ponds, and streams. They can also be found in meadows, forests, prairies, and fields.
17. Rough Greensnake
The Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus) is a non-venomous snake, often referred to as the grass snake. This is a very docile snake and seldom bites. In the event it is captured and does bite, it does not have venom and is completely harmless to humans.
This bright green snake has a yellow belly. It uses its green body to camouflage in vegetation, making them difficult to see. The scales are keeled and they can grow to just over one hundred and ten centimeters.
They prefer woodlands and moist meadows and are rarely found far from water. They are excellent climbers and can be seen climbing trees. At the same time, they are excellent swimmers. They spend their nights coiled in branches.
18. Mississippi Green Watersnake
The Mississippi Green Watersnake (Nerodia cyclopion) can grow to one hundred and forty centimeters in length with stout bodies and dark green coloration. There are narrow dark markings that alternate down the sides and back. As they age, the markings fade.
This snake has a large head. It is non-venomous and harmless to humans and pets. They will bite to defend themselves if needed. They are not aggressive and tend to avoid contact with humans.
They live in slow-moving waters of streams, lakes, inundated woodlands, swamps, and sloughs. They will flee if approached, hiding or moving into the water and swimming away. They will strike if they are cornered. They will also release a foul odor if they are grasped.
19. Gray Ratsnake
The Gray Ratsnake (Pantherophis spiloides) is also known as the chicken snake, pilot black snake, or central ratsnake. They are non-venomous snakes that can grow to one hundred and eighty-three centimeters.
As juveniles, they have a pattern of dark patches, which are separated by gray scales. There is a solid band that covers the eyes. As adults, they can be pale gray or off-white with irregular patches and black spots. They have keeled scales around the midbody.
This snake is an excellent climber and is found in hardwood forests, tree-lined streams, and fields. They are sometimes encountered in sheds and barns. When startled, this snake will freeze, holding its head in a wave-like pattern.
They rattle their tails against what they are lying on to make a buzzing noise. They will strike to defend themselves while releasing a foul odor. If bitten, they are not a medical emergency, and bite wounds usually only need a small bandage.
20. Ring-necked Snake
The Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus) is a harmless snake that is very secretive. They are nocturnal and are very seldom encountered during the day. They curl up their tail in a defense posture to expose their red-orange posterior if threatened.
They are solid olive, blue-gray, smoky-black, or brown with a yellow, orange-yellow, or red neckband. The belly is red to yellow-orange with crescent-shaped black markings. They can vary in size from thirty-eight centimeters to forty-six centimeters in length. The scales are smooth.
They can be encountered in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, rocky hillsides, and moist environments. They are not encountered at high elevations of more than two thousand, two hundred meters. They have communally shared dens.
They are often found under the wood. They do tend to stay away from humans, though they are known to use urban areas when hiding from predators.
21. Rough Earthsnake
The Rough Earthsnake (Haldea striatula) is a non-venomous snake. It is completely harmless, secretive, and small. This slender snake can grow to twenty-five centimeters. It has weakly keeled scales.
This snake is gray, red, or brown with no pattern. Juveniles have a light-colored band on the neck, which disappears with each molt. The belly is white to tan.
Their preferred habitats are forested habitats with ample ground cover. They can be encountered hiding under rocks, leaf litter, compost piles, and logs.
Mudsnakes (Farancia abacura) are non-venomous and semi-aquatic snakes that can grow to more than 1.4 meters in length. The record length measured was more than two meters. Females are larger than males.
This glossy black snake has a red and black belly. They are heavy-bodied with smooth scales. You may find them on the edge of swamps and streams, in debris on the ground, or hidden in dense vegetation. They burrow in mud and only leave the water to hibernate or lay eggs.
This snake is mostly nocturnal, preying on aquatic salamanders and amphibians. If disturbed, they will hide their head under their coil and show their red underside as a warning.
23. Glossy Swampsnake
The Glossy Swampsnake (Liodytes rigida) often called the crayfish snake is a striped water snake. This semi-aquatic snake belongs to the Colubridae family and is common in Louisiana, preying mostly on crayfish.
This small, heavy-bodied snake can grow to forty-one centimeters in total length. They are olive brown with two black stripes. The stripes are not always present. They have a yellow upper lip and a yellow belly with two black spots.
It has keeled midbody scales. They are often seen near slow-flowing water, including swamps, bogs, and ditches. They are sometimes found near coastal habitats.
24. Red-bellied Snake
The Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) is endemic to North America. It is a small woodland snake that can grow to twenty-five centimeters in length. The coloration can range from brown to orange or gray to black. They have a red or orange belly.
This snake prefers warm habitats and is known to live in abandoned ant mounts, which are well-insulated. The snake has large eyes and can burrow effectively. They are sometimes found under leaf debris and logs.
25. Ribbon Snake
Ribbon Snakes (Thamnophis saurita) are garter snakes. They are non-venomous and belong to the Colubridae family. They can grow to ninety centimeters in length. They are brown with yellow stripes.
They are commonly seen in wet climates, including marshes, streams, ponds, and lakes. They are most active from April to October, hibernating during the winter. They prefer high vegetation and aquatic areas, where they swim to catch their prey.
26. Saltmarsh Snake
The Saltmarsh Snake (Nerodia clarkii) is a non-venomous semi-aquatic snake. They can grow to thirty-eight centimeters and vary in pattern and color. They are often yellow, tan, or gray with four black-to-brown stripes.
This snake prefers brackish estuaries and tidal mud flats. Even though they are non-venomous, they will bite to defend themselves. They are secretive and docile snakes. They are not naturally aggressive and will avoid contact with humans. Bites usually only occur when they are cornered, molested, or captured.
The Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum), also known as the whip snake is a thin-bodied snake with a small head and large eyes. They vary in color and can range from light brown with dark brown flecks to shades of pink.
The coachwhip has patterned scales, giving it a braided appearance. This long snake can grow to one hundred and eighty centimeters in length, weighing more than 1.8 kilograms.
They prefer open areas with sandy soil, including prairies, sandhill scrap, old fields, and open pine forests. They hunt and eat lizards, rodents, and small birds.
They will flee when you approach, but if they are cornered, they will strike. Bites are painful but harmless. They have excellent eyesight and are often seen raising their heads above the grass to see what is around them. Being fast, they can move at up to four miles per hour.
There are some myths associated with the coachwhip, which include the fact that they chase humans. This is not true and is often when a human and a snake startle each other and happen to run in the same direction to escape. The snakes can move faster than humans, giving the impression that they are chasing them.
Another myth is that the snake will chase down a person, wrap around them and whip them to death. The snake then sticks its tail in the victim’s nose to see if they are breathing. This is completely untrue, as these are not constricting snakes, they also do not whip their tails. They are non-venomous and are just trying to escape the human encounter.
28. Smooth Earthsnake
The Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae) can range from brown to light brown. The first row of dorsal scales has light fawn and pale gray to pink coloration. They have a small ring around the eye. The underside of the head is white.
This small non-venomous snake can grow to twenty-five centimeters. They spend the majority of their time buried in soil or under leaf litter.
29. Prairie Kingsnake
The Prairie Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster) is also known as the yellow-bellied kingsnake. They are light brown to gray snakes with dark brown, gray, or red patches. The patches run down the back. They can grow to one hundred and two centimeters in length.
As juveniles, they have a distinct brown stripe that runs down their body with two spots behind the head.
This snake prefers open habitats with dry soil, not too far from a permanent water source. They shake their tails when they feel harassed. They shake the tail in dry leaf litter, giving them the sound of a rattlesnake.
This snake seldom bites but will give off a foul smell if handled. They flatten their body when they feel threatened. It’s not uncommon to find this snake in abandoned buildings, under logs, and inside tree trunks. They are very secretive and you may not even realize you have walked right past one.
30. Eastern Hognose Snake
The Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) is also known as the spreading adder and is a non-venomous rear-fanged snake. It prefers old fields, forest edges, and sandy pine forested areas.
This snake can grow to seventy-one centimeters. The females tend to be larger than the males. They have an upturned snout, which is used for digging in sandy soil. They vary in color and can be orange, brown, gray, black, green, red, or a combination of these colors. They can have a patterned body, though sometimes there are no patterns.
The snake has a solid gray, cream, or yellow belly. The underside of the tail is a lighter shade than the belly. Even though it is rear-fanged it is not venomous and poses no threat to humans. The large fangs at the back of the jaw inject mild venom into amphibian prey.
When they are threatened, they will flatten their head and raise their head off the ground, mimicking a cobra. They will hiss and strike with a closed mouth. They very seldom try and bite. If this fails, it will roll on its back to play dead, giving off a foul odor, while its tongue hangs out.
31. Corn Snake
Corn Snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) belong to the North American rat snake family and use constriction to subdue their prey. It is a common non-venomous snake in Louisiana. They do resemble the venomous copperhead and are often killed as a result. They are beneficial snakes, helping to control rodent populations.
They are often found near grain stores where they prey on mice and rats. They can grow to just short of six feet in length and can live for fifteen years. In captivity, they are known to live an average of twenty-three years with the oldest recorded being thirty-two years.
They are brightly colored with a slender build. They do not have heat-sensing pits and have round pupils. They are common visitors in overgrown fields, abandoned buildings, and forest openings. They do brumate in colder climates where they shelter in rock crevices and logs.
32. Black Kingsnake
The Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis nigra) is a non-venomous snake and a common sight in Louisiana. It is a large to medium-sized constrictor that can grow to one-hundred-and-twenty-two centimeters in length. They have black bodies with widely spaced cream to yellow specks.
They are common in abandoned farmsteads, floodplain edges, the brush around swamps and streams, and debris piles. You are likely to find one in the Mississippi River area of Louisiana.
33. Western Milksnake
The Western Milksnake (Lampropeltis gentilis) has white, black, and red to orange banding. The red-to-orange banding has black borders. The bands often extend over the belly. They are unkeeled and they have thick and short necks. Adults can grow to eighty-five centimeters.
They are common in open sagebrush and grassland areas, pine savannahs, and rocky outcrops. They are non-venomous and pose no danger to humans.
34. Graham’s Crayfish Snake
Graham’s Crayfish Snake (Regina grahamii) is a non-venomous semi-aquatic snake that is endemic to the central United States. This snake is also known as the prairie water adder and striped moccasin. It is a medium-sized snake that can grow to seventy-one centimeters. in length.
They are usually brown or gray with a faint stripe down the back. The lateral stripes are white, tan, cream, or yellow. The belly matches the lateral stripes. They are commonly seen along the margins of lakes, rivers, streams, and mud-bottom marshes.
This snake will hide under logs, rocks, and other debris on the water’s edge. The primary diet consists of crayfish, though they have been reported to eat amphibians and fish. They use camouflage as a defense and are nocturnal. When alarmed they will escape into the water to hide. They are docile and will give off a foul-smelling musk if captured.
35. Brahminy Blindsnake
The Brahminy Blindsnake (Indotyphlops braminus) is a non-venomous snake found in Africa and Asia. It has been introduced into North America and is commonly seen in Louisiana. They are burrowing snakes with habits similar to earthworms.
This small snake only grows to just over ten centimeters. in length as an adult. It is the smallest snake species known in the world. They range from silver-gray to gray or yellow-beige to purple. Juveniles are similar in coloration to adults.
They can be energetic or lethargic and will seek cover to avoid light, hiding under leaf litter or soil. You may come across one of these small snakes in agricultural areas or urban areas. They live in termites and ant nests, under logs, stones, and moist leaves.
36. Eastern Worm Snake
The Eastern Worm Snake (Carphophis amoenus) is a non-venomous snake endemic to the Eastern Woodlands region in North America. They are common in woodlands and wetlands, along with grasslands adjacent to woodlands. They spend most of their time underground and can sometimes be seen moving under a rock or log.
They are not dangerous and can be safely picked up, they cannot bite but will produce a foul-smelling odor if they feel threatened. Growing to only twenty-eight centimeters., these snakes have smooth and glossy scales in dark brown or brown with a red belly. There is pink ventral pigmentation extending onto the first two dorsal scale rows.
They have small heads with reduced eyes. They have a four-year lifespan.
37. Great Plains Ratsnake
This non-venomous rat snake (Pantherophis emoryi) is also known as the brown rat snake or eastern spotted snake. They are light gray to tan with dark gray patches down the back and stripes on both sides of the head. They can grow to five feet in length.
This snake prefers lightly forested or open grassland habitats and can be found in coastal plains, moderately mountainous regions, and semi-arid regions. They are common visitors to farmlands and areas with a high rodent problem.
In addition to rodents, they will also eat birds, other snakes, frogs, and lizards. They use constriction to subdue their prey. They are nocturnal and shake their tails vigorously if they feel they are threatened.
You will quickly see this snake is agitated when it curls up tightly and shakes its tail on leaf litter. They have very small teeth and they will bite but the good news is that they are non-venomous. Overall, these snakes tend to be non-aggressive and calm.
38. Common Watersnake
The Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) is a large, non-venomous snake. They are native to North America and are often confused with the venomous cottonmouth. They can grow to four feet in length and range from gray to red, and brown to black.
This snake has dark cross bands on the neck and the body is covered in dark patches. As they age they become darker and the pattern becomes obscure. Some older individuals can be almost black. The belly ranges from yellow or white, to gray with black or red crescents.
This snake is harmless to humans but is often killed because it resembles the venomous cottonmouth. This watersnake has a longer body than the cottonmouth with a flattened head and round pupils, there are no heat-sensing pits.
These snakes are active during the day and night and will be seen basking on tree stumps, rocks, and brush. They actively hunt along the water’s edge during the day looking for frogs, worms, crayfish, tadpoles, fish, and salamanders.
You are likely to see this water snake near streams, ponds, wetlands, and lakes.
39. Louisiana Pinesnake
The Louisiana Pinesnake (Pituophis ruthveni) is a large constrictor that is non-venomous. It is a powerful snake and is indigenous to west-central Louisiana and eastern Texas. They are rarely seen and are one of the rarest snakes in North America, due to their habitat loss.
They are yellow with dark brown patches and spots on the back. They grow quickly and can reach three feet in length in their first year and up to four feet by the second year. They spend around sixty percent of their time underground. They are more active in the late morning and mid-afternoon.
In Louisiana, they are more active from March to May and least active from December to February when they hibernate in Baird’s pocket gopher burrow systems, which is their primary food source. They are also known to feed on ground-nesting birds, cottontails, rodents, and amphibians.
They live in open pine forests where they use the gopher’s burrow system. When disturbed on the surface, they rush to a burrow to hide.
The Scarletsnake (Cemophora coccinea) is a non-venomous snake that grows to sixty-six centimeters. in length as an adult. They have a light gray ground color with black-bordered patches down their back. The patches can be white, yellow, or red, with a black border. The belly is light gray or white.
This is a nocturnal snake that is only active during the warm summer months. It is often encountered under logs and organic litter. They may be seen crossing a road at night while searching for food. Their diet comprises small rodents, lizard and turtle eggs, and other snakes.
41. Flat-headed Snake
Flat-headed Snakes (Tantilla gracilis) are easy to identify with tiny eyes, smooth scales, and flattened heads. They can grow up to twenty centimeters. in length and are yellow-brown or tan with a pointed head.
The belly is orange or salmon turning white on the sides. You are likely to encounter this snake in wooded and rocky limestone hillsides. They are nocturnal and more common from spring to fall. They hide under rocks and moist debris.
They are known to bury in the soil. They have a varied diet which includes scorpions, centipedes, small arthropods, and spiders. They have grooved rear fangs and small venom glands that are used to subdue their prey. They are not dangerous to humans and will not bite if handled gently.
42. Pine Woods Snake
The Pine Woods Snake (Rhadinaea flavilata) is also known as the yellow-lipped snake and is rear-fanged and mildly venomous. It is not dangerous to humans. This small snake can be yellow-brown, dark-orange, or red-brown. The underside is unmarked.
There is a dark stripe running through the eye and a light stripe down the back. The upper lip scales are pale yellow or white. They are small, growing to thirty-three centimeters. They are found in scattered locations in Louisiana where they prefer pine and mixed-pine forests.
43. Scarlet Kingsnake
The Scarlet Kingsnake (Lampropeltis elapsoides), also known as the scarlet milk snake, is a non-venomous species found in pine flat woods, pine savannas, pine-oak forests, and prairies. They are also found in suburban habitats, commonly found in swimming pools.
They spend a lot of time underground and can grow to seventy-six centimeters in total length. The tri-colored pattern comprises of white, red, and black with various yellow bands. They are born with white, black, and red bands and develop yellow within the banding as they age.
This is a very secretive snake. It is nocturnal and spends most of its time underground. This means you are not likely to encounter one unless you find it in your swimming pool. They are excellent climbers and will hide under bark and decaying wood. They prey on small snakes and lizards.
44. Eastern Milksnake
The Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum) is a non-venomous snake that can grow to just over ninety centimeters in length. They have shiny and smooth scales and brown dorsal saddles edged in black. Some have red or red-brown dorsal saddles.
The ground color is gray or tan and there are also five black-bordered patches along the length of the snake. The belly is a black and white checkered pattern. They are common in rural areas.
They are very common as pets and many are bred in captivity. They are docile and will rarely bite.
45. Pine Snake
Pine Snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) are non-venomous, growing to two hundred and thirty centimeters in length. They are powerful with small heads and a pointed nostril scale. They have keeled dorsal scales and a single anal plate. The color ranges from light ground color with black, red-brown, or brown patches.
This snake is found in pine flat woods, prairies, cultivated fields, rocky desert areas, chaparrals, and open brushland.
46. Rainbow Snake
The Rainbow Snake (Farancia erytrogramma) is a large and non-venomous aquatic snake. It is sometimes referred to as the red-lined snake, sand hob, or striped wampum. They have smooth and glossy scales that are blue-black with three red stripes.
This snake can grow to one hundred and twenty-two centimeters. in total length. Females are larger than males. This is a very secretive snake and very seldom seen. They spend the majority of their time underwater, hiding in aquatic vegetation. They are excellent swimmers and will burrow in sand and mug to hide.
They are not aggressive if captured and seldom bite. They feed on eels, tadpoles, frogs, and salamanders. They eat their prey alive. These snakes live in cypress swamps, marshes, creeks, slow-moving streams, and sandy coastal plains.
47. Southeastern Crown Snake
This non-venomous snake (Tantilla coronata) is small and slender. It is gray-brown or light brown with a black head and a cream or yellow band between the neck and head. The back is red-brown. The belly is white or light pink. Adults can grow to twenty-five centimeters in total length.
They are found in large populations in areas with sandy soil and plenty of organic matter. They are active during the day in warm months and often spend their time hiding under organic litter, rocks, and logs. They do hibernate in colder months. They travel at night, usually in the early evening.
It is an excellent burrower and swims through the sand when escaping. They feed on termites, centipedes, spiders, and worms.
48. Western Worm Snake
Western Worm Snakes (Carphophis vermis) are non-venomous and native to the United States. They are dark black or purple with light pink undersides. They can grow to twenty-eight centimeters.
These snakes spend most of their time under the ground, buried in loose and rocky soils. They are abundant in their range but you will rarely see one as they are very secretive. They breed in the spring and lay eggs in the summer. The clutches are up to eight eggs that hatch in August and September.
Their diet comprises mostly earthworms, though they do feed on soft-bodied insects. It will release a foul-smelling odor if harassed. If they are captured, they will push their tail tip into your hand as a defense mechanism.