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The Most Popular Snake Species in the USA

corn snake
Corn snake wrapped around a branch. Image via Deposit Photos

The United States boasts a diverse and captivating array of snake species, each with its own unique traits and characteristics. While popularity can be subjective, certain snakes have gained recognition and fascination due to their prevalence, distinctive features, and interactions with humans. Join us on a journey through some of the most popular snake species in the USA, showcasing the richness of these reptilian wonders.

1. Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

Eastern Garter Snake
Eastern Garter Snake
  • Characteristics: Recognizable by their slender bodies and distinctive stripes, Eastern Garter Snakes are among the most common snakes in the USA.
  • Popularity: Furthermore, they are found in a variety of habitats, including gardens and woodlands, they are often encountered by people and are appreciated for their vibrant colors.

2. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

Head of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)
  • Characteristics: As the largest venomous snake in North America, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is known for its diamond-shaped markings and intimidating rattling sound.
  • Popularity: Despite its venomous nature, it captures attention for its role in ecosystems and the caution it elicits from those who share its habitat.

3. Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis obsoletus)

Rat Snake Bites
Black Racer Snake or Schrenck’s rat snake (Elaphe schrenckii) lying on a branch in their natural habitat. Length of about 170 cm.
  • Characteristics: Black Rat Snakes are large constrictors with dark-colored scales, often found in wooded areas and climbing trees.
  • Popularity: While valued for their role in controlling rodent populations, these snakes are respected for their beneficial presence.

4. Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)

Corn snake
  • Characteristics: Corn Snakes are popular among reptile enthusiasts for their vibrant colors and intricate patterns.
  • Popularity: While often kept as pets, their docile nature and captivating appearance make them favorites in the world of snake enthusiasts.

5. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) coiled to strike
  • Characteristics: Resembling its Eastern counterpart, the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is a venomous species with diamond-shaped markings and a distinctive rattle.
  • Popularity: Capturing the fascination of those in the southwestern US, it is both revered and respected for its role in the ecosystem.

6. Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon)

northern water snake
  • Characteristics: Mistakenly identified as venomous, Northern Water Snakes are non-venomous and commonly inhabit aquatic environments.
  • Popularity: Often seen near water bodies, their presence sparks interest and sometimes concern due to their similarity to venomous species.

7. Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

The Northern Copperhead Bite
Northern Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix, a venomous pit viper found in Eastern North America
  • Characteristics: Their copper-colored heads and hourglass patterns recognize venomous snakes known as Copperheads.
  • Popularity: While people fear their venom, they also respect these snakes for their role in controlling rodent populations in various ecosystems.

8. Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)

mama bird dies trying to save her chicks
Gopher Snake Close Up
  • Characteristics: Gopher Snakes are large, non-venomous constrictors with patterns resembling rattlesnakes.
  • Popularity: Appreciating their contribution to local ecosystems, people know Gopher Snakes for their mimicry and role in rodent control.

Bottom Line

Copperhead Snake Bite

In conclusion, while these snakes represent just a fraction of the rich diversity found in the USA, they exemplify the intriguing nature of these reptiles and their interactions with the human experience. Whether feared or admired, these popular snake species contribute to the complex and fascinating tapestry of wildlife in the USA.

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