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Renowned Herpetologist Unveils the 8 Most Popular Snake Species Across the USA

eastern brown snake
Eastern brown snake - of the family Elapidae. Image via Depositphotos

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)

Garter snakes
Garter snakes eat pest such as slugs. Riley Stanton, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • 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)

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake
Head of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus). Image via Depositphotos
  • 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)

Black Racer Snake
Black racer snake is one of two large, black snakes found in Connecticut. Image by James wainscoat via Unsplash
  • 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
The corn snake is also known as the red rat snake. Image via Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • 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)

Rattle snake
The rattle of the snake is found at the tip of the rattle snakes tail. Image via ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • 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)

Water snakes
Water snakes prefer moving slow. Image via Kingshuk Mondal, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • 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)

Copper head snake
Copper head snakes are robust and muscular in build. Image via Debabrata Phukon, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • 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)

Image of a snake.
Image of a snake close up. Image via Depositphotos
  • 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.
Copper snake
Copper head snakes has a reddish-tan body. Image via coloredKristof Zyskowski & Yulia Bereshpolova, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Thank you for reading

Western Diamond snake
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Image via Holger Krisp, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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