Snakes of Sacramento, CA

Sacramento snake

Smith’s Black-Headed Snake
Latin name: Tantilla hobartsmithi
Size: 4 to 15 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
Of all the snakes you may encounter in the state of California, this is probably going to be the smallest (excluding juveniles, of course). It is one of two subspecies of black-headed snake in the state, the other being the western black-headed snake. There are very few differences between the black-headed snake and the variable ground snake, making them quite hard to identify. One of the only differences is the presence of a loreal scale (between the eyes and nose) on the variable ground snake that is missing on the black-headed snake.

Western Black-Headed Snake
Latin name: Tantilla planiceps
Size: 3 to 16 inches
Venomous: No
This is the larger of the two black-headed species found in the state of California, but is still a small and slender snake that can be easily missed. Usually a brown, tan, or rusty brown shade, the head is – as you may have guessed – black. There is sometimes a pale line in a contrasting shade that separates the head and neck, similar to the ring-necked snake.
It is thought that this subspecies of black-headed snake inhabits the southern regions of the state, but the snake is such a secretive and elusive one that herpetologists have a hard time observing the species in its natural habitat.

Brahminy Blind Snake
Latin name: Indotyphlops braminus
Size: 2 to 8 inches
Venomous: No
Not only is this one of the smallest snakes in the state of California, it is also one of the smallest species of snake across the globe … and it doesn’t belong in the state of California. It is what experts call a non-native species, found readily across the world, and believed to have been introduced into the state in 2000. Official reports and sightings have been recorded regularly since the early 2010s.
This snake is unique from other snakes in being parthenogenetic – it doesn’t require a male to reproduce. This could explain why it has flourished in non-native states, with new populations establishing regularly. It is frequently mixed up with the western thread snake – a snake that does belong in California – which can make identification quite tough.

Northern Rubber Boa
Latin name: Charina bottae
Size: 14 to 34 inches
Venomous: No
Also known as the coastal rubber boa, the northern rubber boa is one of two boa species found in North America – and both of which are found in the state of California. (The other is the rosy boa.)
Boas thrive in this state, and many others, and this particular subspecies is known to inhabit a vast array of territories, including conifer forests, meadows, open grasslands, and even mountain, alpine backdrops. Unlike other snakes, boas prefer cooler temperatures and do not fare well in dry, dusty, and hot areas. The snake requires items to hide under when it gets warm, such as fallen logs or branches, piles of rock, boulders, vegetative debris, thick layers of leaves on the ground, or even the burrows and dens of other animals.

Rosy Boa
Latin name: Lichanura orcutti
Size: 16 to 36 inches
Venomous: No
This heavy-bodied, burrowing, mostly nocturnal snake is a very popular species in the pet industry, and was once made up of three subspecies: the desert rosy boa, Mexican rosy boa and the coastal rosy boa. These are now classed as one and the same, and this species is also known by the latin name: Charina trivirgata. Some people also know this species as the northern three-lined boa.
As the name implies, this snake is often ‘rosy’ in appearance, with a pale gray or tan body that is decorated with complete lines or stripes in rust-brown, bright red, or orange-red. Out of all boas, the rosy boa (and subspecies) is one of the smallest.

Southern Rubber Boa
Latin name: Charina umbratica
Size: 14 to 34 inches
Venomous: No
As the name implies, the southern rubber boa is most encountered in the southern parts of California, and this subspecies of rubber boa is often shorter than its northern cousin, growing to a maximum length of approximately 20-25 inches.
The southern rubber boa is classed as a threatened species in the state, and it seems that remaining populations are somewhat disjunct. Something that makes the subspecies difficult to monitor is identification: it is often confused with the northern rubber boa. Boas, by nature, are also nocturnal snakes by nature, and they’re also spectacular burrowers, spending almost all of their time hiding beneath something and hiding from warm temperatures.

Bull Snake
Latin name: Pituophis catenifer sayi
Size: 50 to 72 inches
Venomous: No
With the exception of the eastern indigo snake, the bull snake, a subspecies of pine or gopher snakes, is one of the largest native snakes you're likely to spot in California. Some specimens have measured almost 100 inches in length although it is more common for adults to grow to around 70 to 75 inches.
A heavy-bodied species that weigh up to nine or ten pounds, it is perfectly camouflaged in the long grasses and similar regions it inhabits: darker-colored blotches of dark brown or almost black over a light tan, brown, or gray background shade. The underside is lighter, often cream or yellow-tinged, patterned with darker patches. Some refer to this pattern as checkerboard-like.

Red Coachwhip
Latin name: Coluber flagellum piceus
Size: 36 to 66 inches
Venomous: No
The red coachwhip, also known as the red racer, is a long and slender snake, and one that can move at quite some speed when compared to other species – hence the ‘racer’ nickname. As well as being able to move at speeds of 4mph, this snake can also climb trees and bushes with ease, can survive in very hot temperatures, and can be quite aggressive when provoked.
The body of this snake, as the name suggests, is usually a reddish color, but it can also come with pink and/or brown tones, with darker blotches adorning it. Some snakes can look similar to the Baja California gopher snake, but the coachwhip can also look very much like a number of other snakes, especially with a mottled or almost leopard-print looking appearance.

Baja California Coachwhip
Latin name: Coluber fuliginosus
Size: 24 to 52 inches
Venomous: No
The Baja California coachwhip tends to come in two color variations – but the one commonly found in the state of California has scales that are a dark shade of gray or tan, with a lighter shade outlining the scales. It is also quite common for this subspecies of coachwhip to look completely black.
This snake is commonly associated with habitats that are open and grassy, such as shrub lands, grasslands, and sand dunes (towards the coast). As the name might imply, it tends to inhabit Baja California, but populations have also been spotted north of the region as well as the most southern parts of San Diego.

San Joaquin Coachwhip
Latin name: Coluber flagellum ruddocki
Size: 36 to 66 inches
Venomous: No
For the most part, this snake is brown or tan in color, with darker patches on the scales that can give the body a slightly mottled or braided look. However, the San Joaquin coachwhip can occasionally be shades of bright green, red or pink, and orange. The thing to look for is the tail: it is very long, and the way the scales sit appear braided – like a braided whip, giving the snake its name.
This snake can only be found in a small portion of California: Sacramento Valley, parts of Kern County, and San Joaquin Valley. Occasionally, the population will splay out into the southernmost coastal regions, but the species is classed as one of special concern in the state, due to degradation of habitats.

California Red-Sided Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis
Size: 18 to 36 inches
Venomous: No
As the name might imply, the California red-sided garter snake often has two red lines of spots that run down each side of the body. When set against a backdrop of dark brown or black scales, the red can look quite striking. The head often has a rust-brown or red tone to it, and the belly of the snake is light gray or blue-gray, often without blotches, but occasionally with darker mottling.
This snake is more active during the day, and is more tolerant of cooler temperatures than other snakes found in California. When provoked or threatened, the snake will usually retreat into water, swimming away with speed and ease, but it can have quite the temper and will bite if necessary.

Coast Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis elegans terrestris
Size: 18 to 43 inches
Venomous: No
The colours and markings of the coast garter snake will very much depend on the habitat and area in which it is found, with those in the Santa Cruz mountains displaying red-tinged stripes along the sides of the body, whereas coast garter snakes in the San Francisco peninsula area tend to have stripes that are yellow or gray, with accommodating spots.
This daytime-active subspecies often lives close to bodies of water, but is less dependent on it than most garter snakes. It will use either the cover of water or ground vegetation as protection, and as a way to flee and hide from potential threats.

Diablo Range Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis atratus zaxanthus
Size: 18 to 30 inches
Venomous: No
The Diablo range species of garter snake can be found along the inner coast of California, including Santa Barbara County, Napa County, and Solano County. There are also populations on the southern sides of the Santa Cruz mountains, towards the edges of the territory, often close to rocky outcrops, streams, and other rocky and shallow bodies of water.
The brown, black, or dark gray snake often has a bright and very defined stripe of color that runs down the back – yellow, off-white, orange, or creamy-gray in color. Juveniles can also have spots, although these seem to fade with age; and there are also commonly stripes along the sides, but these are fainter and sometimes not very obvious.

Giant Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis gigas
Size: 36 to 65 inches
Venomous: No
The giant garter snake is – as the name suggests – a larger subspecies of the garter snake, usually growing to approximately 48 inches in length, but with the ability to reach 65 inches or more.
This highly aquatic snake is associated with drainage canals, sloughs, and marshes, but will happily live in/around any slow-moving water body provided there is dense vegetation growing around it. It feeds on tadpoles, frogs, and fish that it finds in these waters, but the primary food source is said to be frogs, particularly the bullfrog, in California.

Oregon Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus
Size: 18 to 30 inches
Although adult Oregon garter snakes tend to grow to a maximum length of 28 to 30 inches, some specimens have tipped the measuring tape at more than 35 to 40 inches long. You might miss it even on the large end of the scale, in the wild – it is a relatively secretive species that often uses water as a means of escape. As with other garter snake subspecies, the Oregon garter snake usually doesn’t stray far from a body of water, but it is more than capable of surviving in more inland/dry regions.

Marcy’s Checkered Garter Snake
Latin name:Thamnophis marcianus marcianus
Size: 20 to 28 inches
Venomous: No
The Marcy’s checkered garter snake, also known as just the checkered garter snake to most, is every bit as checkered as the name would lead you to believe. With a brown, yellow-brown, or light tan body and darker blotches arranged in an alternate scale way, it is a fairly easy snake to identify, but does still get mixed up with other snakes, and other garter snake subspecies.
This snake, like most garter snakes, likes to live close to a body of water and is frequently found in grasslands adjacent to streams, rivers, lakes, or ponds. This snake also fairs well in desert habitats, however – provided there is a source of water in the area from which the snake can pluck its mostly amphibious prey.

Mountain Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis elegans elegans
Size: 18 to 43 inches
Venomous: No
The mountain garter snake – as you might expect – tends to live in higher elevations and avoid the coastal areas of California, commonly spotted in the Sierra Nevada mountains, splaying out further north into both Oregon and Nevada. In the mountains, it feeds on Sierran tree frogs and similar amphibians, but will also eat bats, rats, mice, voles, slugs, snails, earthworms, fish, lizards, other snakes, and more. This subspecies of garter snake is known to have the most varied and adaptable diet, often primarily feeding on the prey item that is most abundant in that particular habitat.

Northwestern Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis ordinoides
Size: 12 to 24 inches
Venomous: No
There are many subspecies of garter snake found across the state of California, but the Northwestern garter snake holds the smallest range of them all, only found in a small area in the very north-west of the state, in the counties of Humboldt and Del Norte.
Studies have shown that garter snakes display different behaviors of defense or escape depending on the markings or patterns they have. Those that have no stripes, faint stripes, or spots instead of stripes will slither quickly away before then stopping and allowing the surroundings to camouflage them. Specimens with stripes, however, simply slither away as fast as they can and only stop when they are sure the threat has been evaded.

San Francisco Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia
Size: 18 to 36 inches
Venomous: No
The San Francisco garter snake usually has a red head, with stripes of blue or blue gray, black, and red/orange, and rather large eyes when compared to other subspecies of garter snake.
As the name might imply, this garter snake is commonly found in a small area around the peninsula of San Francisco, as well as along the county border. Summers are spent close to bodies of water, such as streams, marshes, and ponds; and the snake is known to use upland areas, further from water, for winter.

Santa Cruz Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis atratus atratus
Size: 18 to 30 inches
Venomous: No
This highly-aquatic water snake can be found, as the name might imply, in Santa Cruz – the mountains to be specific, as well as to the south of San Francisco Peninsula. The snake is dark gray, black, or dark olive-green, with a bright stripe of yellow (or creamy yellow) running down the back. Occasionally, there are faint stripes running down the sides, too, but these are often not noticeable.
Frogs, toads, and newts seem to make up the bulk of the Santa Cruz snake’s diet, specifically California red-legged frogs, California newts, and California toads. Secondary prey items include leeches, salamander and larvae, tadpoles, small fish, and occasionally, when on land, small rodents.

Sierra Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis couchii
Size: 18 to 38 inches
Venomous: No
This mostly nocturnal, highly-aquatic and quite aggressive subspecies of garter snake can be found in the central and north-eastern regions of California, as well as the southern sections of the Sierra Nevada mountains, in or very close to a body of water. Out of all of the garter snake subspecies that you will find in the state, the Sierra garter snake is the one you are most likely to find in the water.
A snake that comes in many colors and patterns, the scales tend to be dark – black, very dark brown, or a dark olive-green-brown mix, with a lighter-colored stripe that starts at the neck and fades away into the rest of the body. The underside of the snake is a paler shade, and often has darker edges, giving the belly a striped look.

Two-Striped Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis hammondii
Size: 18 to 38 inches
Venomous: No
Although this snake is called the two-striped garter snake, it can actually come in one of two patterns/colorings, often referred to as “morphs”. As well as striped (with two stripes, one on each side, in a gray-yellow shade), there is spotted, where the solid lines are replaced with lines of dots. Confusingly, the striped morph can also have light or faint spots, too.
This species is a diurnal one, meaning that it is more common to see the snake awake and active during the day, and it is fairly aggressive when provoked or threatened. It will display a number of defense mechanisms, as well as delivering multiple bites that are very mildly toxic. This doesn’t usually cause serious health concerns for humans, but can be very unpleasant.

Valley Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi
Size: 18 to 36 inches
Venomous: No
The valley garter snake can be found across almost all of central and northern regions of California, including along the coast and in higher elevations, in habitats that are close to a body of water. This can include streams, marshes, and ponds, and also the grasslands, woodlands, and farmlands around them.
The valley garter snake is especially useful to help keep populations of the very poisonous Pacific newt in check, and could – experts believe – even help to keep the populations of other, larger predators in check, by retaining some of that poison in the body after the newt has been eaten and digested. This would, in turn, cause secondary poisoning (and likely death) of any predator that feeds on the garter snake.

Wandering Garter Snake
Latin name: Thamnophis elegans vagrans
Size: 18 to 43 inches
Venomous: No
The wandering garter snake covers quite the range in North America, across multiple states on the north and north-west coast of the country. In California, it is linked to areas that sit east of the mountains of Sierra Nevada, as well as down the length of them, into the central part of the state.
This garter snake tends to be pale tan or gray in color, with stripes that run down the body – but this species has been noted in a vast array of colors and markings. Some have bars or spots instead of stripes, and wandering garter snakes from outside the state can have a blue or green appearance.

California Glossy Snake
Latin name: Arizona elegans occidentalis
Size: 26 to 70 inches
Venomous: No
This snake species – one of three glossy snake subspecies found in the state of California – could easily be confused with a number of other snakes, including corn snakes, night snakes, and even – at first glance – a rattlesnake. The California glossy snake is not a rattlesnake, however; nor is it venomous. It is actually shy, secretive, spends almost all of its time underground, and will happily seek refuge in underground dens and burrows, stolen from other mammals and reptiles or otherwise.

Desert Glossy Snake
Latin name: Arizona elegans eburnata
Size: 26 to 70 inches
Venomous: No
The desert glossy snake is every bit as desert-colored and glossy-smooth as the name would lead you to believe, with a gray, tan or even close to white body color, adorned with small bands of brown, red-brown, or almost black. They have similar markings to a number of other snakes found in California, such as yellow-bellied racers, gopher snakes, and night snakes.
It is unlikely that you will see a desert glossy snake in the wild – they are a nocturnal species, have a snout that is perfectly designed to help the serpent hide underground, and have camouflaging that helps them to easily disappear into the arid, rocky, and sandy backdrop it inhabits.

Mohave Glossy Snake
Latin name: Arizona elegans candida
Size: 28 to 70 inches
Venomous: No
This sedentary, nocturnal, and fossorial species of snake can be found in the state of California in loose soils and open areas, such as grasslands, desert scrubs, savannas, and semi-arid dunes or deserts.
As the name suggests, this subspecies of glossy snake commonly inhabits the Mojave Desert, travelling east in the direction of the very south-western regions of Nevada. It can also be a beneficial species to humans, feeding on mice, rats, and lizards, keeping pest problems to a minimum. Alongside that, it is also believed, by experts, that they keep parasite and nematode problems down, and aerating loose soils in the areas they inhabit and burrow into.

Baja California Gopher Snake
Latin name: Pituophis vertebralis bimaris
Size: 40 to 70 inches
Venomous: No
Also sometimes known as the Cape, or the Central Baja California gopher snake, this snake is quite striking to look at. With a bright golden-yellow backdrop and dark brown, almost black blotches, it can be found in – as the name might imply – the Baja area of California.
Gopher snakes, in general, are very adaptable snakes that can live in a wide range of habitats, from shrub lands and prairies to moist wetlands and marshes. You may even encounter this species in your own backyard, provided you have long grasses, rocks, tree logs, or piles of logs/stones for it to hide under.

Coronado Island Gopher Snake
Latin name: Pituophis catenifer coronalis
Size: 40 to 70 inches
This isn’t a species of snake that you will find on the mainland of California, or elsewhere in mainland USA, but if you ever travel to the Coronado Islands, situated 25 miles west off the coast of San Diego, you may just encounter this subspecies of gopher snake. It lives in the rocky vegetation that most of the islands offer, but we don’t know much more about this elusive species because of how secretive it is, plus where it inhabits.
Although colored and patterned in very much the same ways as other subspecies of gopher snakes, the scales that sit underneath the snake’s eyes do not meet. In other subspecies, they do.

Great Basin Gopher Snake
Latin name: Pituophis catenifer deserticola
Size: 40 to 70 inches
Venomous: No
Also commonly referred to as the bull snake, the Great Basin gopher snake can burrow underground, swim, and climb trees and buildings with ease, making it quite a talented snake species indeed.
The colours and patterns of this snake – black or dark brown blotches on the top and smaller blotches on the side, decorating a light caramel-brown or tan background – can make this appear very similar to other snakes found in California, including rattlesnakes. The Great Basin gopher snake also vibrates its tail against the ground when provoked or threatened, which can also make humans believe it is a rattlesnake – but the gopher snake is a non-venomous species.

Pacific Gopher Snake
Latin name: Pituophis catenifer catenifer
Size: 34 to 84 inches
Venomous: No
The Pacific gopher snake can come in a wide range of patterns and colours, but the main scale color of this species is either tan or a golden-yellow-brown shade, with a pattern of darker black or brown blotches that are wider and larger on the top and smaller towards the sides.
This snake species tends to be more active during the day, but it is quite common to see it during warm summer nights, and also first thing in the morning. They are non-venomous and are more likely to flee than fight, so if you leave this long but middle-sized snake alone, it’ll leave you alone right back.

San Diego Gopher Snake
Latin name: Pituophis catenifer annectens
Size: 28 to 68 inches
Venomous: No
The largest of San Diego gopher snake specimens have measured in at more than 100 inches in length (9 feet), but adults usually grow to 60 inches. Even the hatchings of this gopher snake are larger than young snakes of other species – 15 inches.
This snake eats a lot of rodents and small mammals that it finds in underground burrows, but it also feeds on birds and their eggs, as well as other prey items that pop up along the way – insects and lizards, for example. Gopher snakes are constrictors, so they use the powerful coils of the body to suffocate prey before devouring it whole.

San Martin Island Gopher Snake
Latin name: Pituophis catenifer fulginatus
Size: 60 to 140 cm
Venomous: No
This is another gopher snake species you won’t find on mainland California, but instead can be found on San Martin Island, not far from the coast of Baja California. On the island, the snake feasts on white-footed mice and woodrats, in windy areas of hardened lava that doesn’t have a lot of vegetation.
The scales of this snake are usually a light brown or gray color, with darker-colored blotches, often in black or dark brown. The header is darker than the body, and there are usually two spots.

Santa Cruz Gopher Snake
Latin name: Pituophis catenifer pumilus
Size: Up to 36 inches
Venomous: No
The Santa Cruz subspecies of gopher snake is the dwarf of the species, only reaching up to 36 inches (3 feet) in length whereas other subspecies can reach lengths of 8 or 9 feet. Despite being smaller than the others, it still has a range of defense mechanisms that it is willing to pull out anytime it needs to. This includes puffing itself up and imitating the striking position of a pit viper. It rarely bites, however, and especially not right away. It will first deliver a series of warning bites, which are closed-mouth bites, almost using its nose to butt off the attacker.

Sonoran Gopher Snake
Latin name: Pituophis catenifer affinis
Size: 40 to 70 inches
Venomous: No
It is in the south-west regions of California that you may encounter the Sonoran gopher snake, one of 11 different subspecies of gopher snake, 8 or 9 of which can be found in the state.
This species of snake is commonly found in back gardens and residential parks, a very adaptable creature that lives just as well in moist woodlands and marshes as it can in suburban spaces. Although quite a large species, this snake is a mixture of tan, brown, and gray tones, making it easy for it to hide beneath rocks, tree logs, and other items. It is easy to confuse this snake with the rat snake – they are of a similar size, and are often adorned with similar markings and colorings.

Variable Ground Snake
Latin name: Sonora semiannulata semiannulata
Size: 4 to 18 inches
Venomous: No
This slim, small, smooth snake often looks very similar to a worm, with its gray-brown body and paler underside. Also known as the striped earth snake, ringed ground snake, black banded ground snake, and banded miter snake, alongside many others, it commonly inhabits the southern and south-eastern regions of California. Preferred habitats include desert flats, semi-arid grasslands, rock hillsides, and dry stream beds.
This small snake feeds on the larvae of insects, scorpions, spiders, crickets, centipedes, and similar. Unfortunately, it also works as prey for many predators, including large centipedes, other snakes, small mammals, and even a few birds.

California King Snake
Latin name: Lampropeltis californiae
Size: 22 to 48 inches
Venomous: No
It is just as common to find the California king snake in captivity as it is to encounter one in the wild, and that’s because of a few things: it’s a pretty docile snake, relatively easy to take care of, and the species comes in a vast array of beautiful and interesting patterns that make it aesthetically pleasing in a vivarium.
Captive California king snakes have inevitably made their way into the wild, breeding with wild snakes when they get there, and that has led to a wide range of patterns and markings that often make this species look like others, and even albino king snakes have been reported.

California Mountain King Snake
Latin name: Lampropeltis zonata
Size: 20 to 50 inches
Venomous: No
This elusive, mostly-underground snake has been given its name because of where it can be most commonly found: mountainous regions of California. It mimics the color of the coral snake, but don’t be fooled: the California mountain king snake is not a venomous species. The red and yellow bands of color are usually touching each other in a venomous species (the coral snake, for example), but this snake has a band of black separating them. Some specimens are missing the red coloration entirely.

Coast Mountain King Snake
Latin name: Lampropeltis multifasciata
Size: 20 to 50 inches
Venomous: No
This non-venomous snake appears similar in color and marking to the venomous coral snake (which isn’t commonly found in California, but can be found in close-by Arizona), but the coast mountain king snake is not venomous. It’s also a very secretive and shy snake, more likely to flee than fight, and also more likely to be underground than slithering around on the surface.
When the temperatures are up, this snake tends to be more nocturnal in nature. Cooler temperatures mean more daytime activity, often in lands close to a body of water, such as oak or pine woodlands, sage scrubs towards the coast, rocky outcrops, and similar.

Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake
Latin name: Phyllorhynchus decurtatus
Size: 12 to 20 inches
Venomous: No
The spotted leaf-nosed snake is closely associated with habitats that are dry, with gravel or sand substrate. This often includes foothills and open flats in San Bernardino, Inyo, Riverside, and San Diego Counties. Nocturnal in nature, it is not uncommon to see this species crossing paved roadways.
As the name suggests, the leaf-nosed snake has a nose that looks a little bit like a leaf, believed to be to help the snake burrow around underneath loose leaf litter and sandy soils. The body is usually sandy-colored, with darker bands of brown running down the back, and smaller ones along the sides.

Long-Nosed Snake
Latin name: Rhinocheilus lecontei
Size: 16 to 60 inches
Venomous: No
This snake has a long nose – but the name probably gave that game away. Found in prairies, shrub lands, grasslands, and deserts, across quite a large portion of the state of California, the long-nosed snake is designed to spend its time burrowing about underground, often inhabiting abandoned (or taken over) burrows and dens of other animals. It will feed on those burrowing animals, too – rats and mice, other snakes, and small mammals, alongside insects, young birds and bird eggs, lizards and lizard eggs, and more. It can feed on both large prey and small prey, switching up its plan of attack to suit. Constriction is used to suffocate and crush larger items, with smaller ones being snapped and devoured whole.

California Lyre Snake
Latin name:Trimorphodon lyrophanes
Size: 18 to 40 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
Although the California lyre snake has the potential to grow up to a maximum length of 48 inches, it tends to measure in at 36 inches at adulthood. It will adopt colorings and markings that camouflage it into habitats such as rocky hillsides, rocky forests, and grasslands – light tan or brown with darker colored blotches. At first glance, it could be confused with the corn snake.
Although this is classed as a non-venomous species to most, it actually has the potential to deliver a mild venom into victims – including humans. This venom is said to bring about some very unpleasant results, including stinging pain, but isn’t potent enough to be fatal.

Sonoran Lyre Snake
Latin name: Trimorphodon lambda
Size: 18 to 40 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
The Sonoron lyre snake is one of two subspecies of lyre snake found in California, and is a mildly venomous species that is generally not fatal for humans. However, the venom is rather unpleasant, quite painful, and gets worse with more bite-time or chewing from the snake.
As well as being a great climber, this species is a fan of rocky hillsides and small rocky crevices. It is only in the south-eastern areas of the state that you may encounter it, and when threatened or provoked the snake will mimic the tail vibrations of a rattlesnake.

California Night Snake
Latin name: Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha nuchalata
Size: 12 to 26 inches
Venomous: Yes
The California night snake can be found in an almost perfect ring around the Sierra Nevada Mountain valleys, expanding into the southern coastal regions. It can thrive in a number of habitat types, including desert, grasslands, high elevation meadows, and even right in your own backyard. Provided there are obstacles and ground coverage for the snake to hide under, or underground burrows and dens it can dig itself or take over, the snake can inhabit the area quite happily. With a varied diet that includes salamanders, frogs, other snakes, lizards, and eggs/larvae/tadpoles, this snake is very adaptable and even matches its coloration and markings to the background.

Northern Desert Night Snake
Latin name: Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola
Size: 8 to 16 inches
Venomous: Yes
The northern desert night snake is actually a venomous snake, but because it’s such a shy, elusive, nocturnal species, human conflicts are rare. Bites from this species are painful, and the venom is also said to be painful although not usually harmful to humans.
This subspecies of night snake can be found in California in a wide assortment of habitats, such as residential backyards and parks, open grasslands and meadows, arid and desert territories, and chaparral. If there is some sort of vegetation or debris on the floor, the night snake has protection for when it moves around on the surface.

San Diego Night Snake
Latin name: Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi
Size: 12 to 26 inches
Venomous: Yes
The venom of the San Diego night snake is fairly mildly, and fatalities as a result of bites are considered rare. They are still thought to be painful and rather unpleasant, however; so we definitely don’t recommend getting close enough to this somewhat aggressive-when-provoked species if you happen to come across one.
Although very common in appearance to the California night snake subspecies, the two can be told apart by looking at the stripe of color that sits from behind the eyes to the neck. In the California subspecies, there is no gap between the eye patch and the neck stripe. In the San Diego subspecies, there is a break.

Coast Patch-Nosed Snake
Latin name: Salvadora hexalepis virgultea
Size: 10 to 46 inches
Venomous: No
Out of the three subspecies of patch-nosed snake found in California, this is the one likely to be in a brown color. The other two often have gray scales. It also has thinner stripes, and the sides of the body are often a much darker shade. The coast subspecies, as you may have guessed, also lives closer to the coast in south and south-west California.
These snakes are fast-moving ones, more active during the day in hot temperatures, and have great eyesight – which means it often zips away before even the experts have a chance to spot and observe it.

Desert Patch-Nosed Snake
Latin name: Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis
Size: 10 to 46 inches
Venomous: No
This snake, when provoked, will put on quite the display for such a slender snake, puffing itself up, attempting to look as large and intimidating as possible, and performing a striking motion. The first few strikes are likely to be bite-less, but the snake will bite if threatened or provoked enough.
The ideal habitat for this snake is territories of brush and a semi-arid environment – open and dry plains, canyons, and rocky hillsides. Here, it feeds on small snakes, young birds and their eggs, amphibians, and lizards.

Mohave Patch-Nosed Snake
Latin name: Salvadora hexalepis mojavensis
Size: 10 to 46 inches
Venomous: No
It is in southern California that you may encounter the Mohave patch-nosed snake, a fast-moving, diurnal species that spends most of its time burrowing around in loose leaf litter or the ground, but is just as adept at climbing small trees and shrubs.
It is difficult to observe this species of patch-nosed snake in the wild, and even experts have a tough time tracking it down. It has excellent vision, and it is very speedy in its retreat. With its camouflage-effect color and markings, it almost fades into the desert, semi-arid backdrop.

Western Yellow-Bellied Racer
Latin name: Coluber constrictor mormon
Size: 20 to 75 inches
Venomous: No
You may encounter the western yellow-bellied racer across all of California, but primarily on Santa Cruz Island, the Baja California border, and north/north-west of the Sierras. It inhabits areas that are mostly dry, with plenty of open space to bask, but also plenty of items to cover under or in, such as the edges of woodlands, thickets and hedgerows, and in open fields and farmlands.
As you might expect from the name, this snake subspecies has a yellow underside, with a gray, light brown-gray, or olive-green back. Juveniles, however, look very different – often a light tan back with darker brown blotches, similar to rattlesnakes and corn snakes.

Baja California Rat Snake
Latin name: Bogertophis rosaliae
Size: 34 to 60 inches
Venomous: No
The Baja California rat snake has been given its own genus because experts aren’t quite sure which other snake species it is closely related to, but most herpetologists consider the snake to be more of a rat snake (Elaphe) than any other.
Not much is known about this shy and elusive snake, and it has been given a protected status in the state of California so that experts can learn more about habitat, feeding patterns, breeding, etc. It usually has a solid-colored body of olive-green, light brown, or rusty-colored brown, but occasionally has an almost leopard-print or diamond-backed pattern in a darker, faded tone, running along the back and sides.

Great Basin Rattlesnake
Latin name: Crotalus oreganus lutosus
Size: 15 to 65 inches
Venomous: Yes
Like most rattlesnakes, the Great Basin rattlesnake is a noisy, defensive species that won’t hesitate to shake its tail and look as menacing as possible in order to scare away potential threats – including humans. This only works when the rattlesnake has time to warn a potential threat, however; when startled, the snake will more likely lash out and bite than wait to deliver a warning shot.
This particular subspecies of rattlesnake is only usually found towards the east of the Sierra Nevada, in California, with populations spreading out into Oregon on the north-east of the state.

Northern Mohave Rattlesnake
Latin name:Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus
Size: 24 to 52 inches
Venomous: Yes
Venomous pit vipers such as the northern mohave rattlesnake, and other rattlesnake species/subspecies in California, are potentially deadly, with venom that is meant to completely immobilize small prey items – rats, rabbits, squirrels, birds, etc. It is very unpleasant for humans, can be fatal, and urgent medical attention is required should a bite occur.
Adults of this species are usually sandy-colored, tan, light gray, or light brown, with the typical almost-diamond-like pattern decorating the back and sides. This pattern is usually made up of dark diamonds, each with a darker outline.

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
Sacramento snake
Latin name: Crotalus oreganus oreganus
Size:15 to 48 inches
Venomous: Yes
Although the Northern Pacific rattlesnake can grow up to 36 inches on average, it is not uncommon to find specimens that are up to 45-50 inches in length, with some even reaching 60 inches.
This pit viper will usually have colorings and markings that match that of its surroundings, enabling it to move around somewhat camouflaged. Most of the time, the body is a light brown, caramel-brown, or tan color, with markings that run down the length of the body in a darker brown/black shade. The rattle – made up of what looks like rings – is what to look for; it is present in all rattlesnakes and they won’t be afraid to vibrate and shake them, creating quite a loud noise, in order to frighten predators away. If that doesn’t work, rattlesnakes will not hesitate to deliver a venomous bite.

Panamint Rattlesnake
Latin name: Crotalus stephensi
Size: 22 to 52 inches
Venomous: No
This species of rattlesnake comes in such a wide array of patterns, markings and colors, making it quite difficult to identify at quick glance. It can easily look very much like other [sub]species of rattlesnake, with light tan, yellow, brown, or gray scales. The back and sides are adorned with blotches that form an almost diamond-like pattern, often in a darker or more red shade, and sometimes outlined with an even darker color still. Being a pit viper, it has a much wider head than neck.

Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Latin name: Crotalus ruber
Size: 30 to 65 inches
Venomous: Yes
The red diamond rattlesnake, just like other rattlesnakes, can deliver a bite that is painful and venomous. If you are bitten by this species of snake, urgent medical attention is required – and symptoms of the venom poisoning are often very, very unpleasant.
The snake uses this venom to immobilize prey items, such as birds, rabbits, rats, mice, squirrels, lizards, and other small mammals. It bites and injects venom, before then releasing the prey, and following it. Once the prey is down and unable to escape, the snake will then swallow it whole.

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake
Latin name: Crotalus oreganus helleri
Size: 30 to 54 inches
Venomous: Yes
Although this venomous pit viper can grow up to 54 inches in length with perfect conditions, it is more common for the Southern Pacific rattlesnake, one of three subspecies of rattlesnake found in California, to reach lengths of 40-45 inches.
A heavy and thick-bodied snake, pit vipers like the rattlesnake tend to have more triangular-shaped heads than other snake species, along with the infamous rattle-portion at the end of the tail that is used to ward off potential predators and attackers. Every time the snake sheds its skin, a new segment of rattle is added to the end – and sometimes this can be two or more times in one year.

Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake
Latin name: Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus
Size: 22 to 52 inches
Venomous: Yes
This particular subspecies of rattlesnake is usually found in the southern regions of California, in dry and hot environments such as deserts, juniper woodlands, and areas of thorn scrub.
This nocturnal snake is classed as an ambush predator. Although it does find food as it moves around from place to place, it is more likely to sit and wait for something to come along. When something does, the snake will strike and inject venom, and then follow the prey until it is immobilized and ready to swallow whole. This can include rats and mice, other small mammals, and birds.

Western Diamond-Backed Rattlesnake
Latin name: Crotalus atrox
Size: 30 to 90 inches
Venomous: Yes
Although the western diamond-backed rattlesnake is a venomous and potentially deadly snake species found in California, biting you is actually the last form of defense it actually wants to use. Before that, it will try to stay completely still in the hope that you won’t see it. After that, it will start vibrating its tail to warn you of its potentially lethal presence. And then, even after that, it will deliver warning strikes before it actually bites. Conflicts tend to arise the most when humans step down in rattlesnake territory without looking where their feet are going.
This species of rattlesnake is the largest one you are likely to encounter in California, and although it can grow up to 90 inches, it usually reaches a maximum length of around 50.

Coral-Bellied Ring-Necked Snake
Latin name:Diadophis punctatus pulchellus
Size: 11 to 16 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
The coral-bellied subspecies of ring-necked snake occasionally shares its territories with both the San Bernardino and Northwestern ring-necked snakes, and can also be found in western areas of the mountains of Sierra Nevada.
This snake is a very secretive one, moving around beneath the cover of fallen logs or branches, boulders and rocks, or other types of woodland and forest debris. This is where it’ll find its primary prey items – slugs, earthworms, and small salamanders. It is not uncommon for the ring-necked snake to eat other (smaller) snakes, frogs, lizards, and insects. Being adaptable, the snake can tweak its diet to suit whatever prey items are around.

Monterey Ring-Necked Snake
Latin name: Diadophis punctatus vandenburgii
Size: 11 to 16 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
The Monterey ring-necked snake is found mostly along the coast of California, around Ventura and Santa Cruz County, plus surrounding close areas. It is closely linked to habitats that are moist, but with plenty of ground items or coverage to offer protection as the snake moves around. This species is a secretive one, commonly found beneath logs, branches, rocks, boulders, and similar, in areas like grasslands, back gardens, rocky hillsides, woodlands, and meadows.
The latin name works with the given name to help identify this snake: punctatus means spotted, referring to the darker spots that sit on top of the often bright red or orange-red belly, and the ring-necked part for the ring of color (often the same shade) that separates the head from the rest of the body.

Northwestern Ring-Necked Snake
Latin name: Diadophis punctatus occidentalis
Size: 11 to 18 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
The Northwestern subspecies of ring-necked snakes tends to be a little bigger, in terms of length, than the other subspecies found in the state of California, but only by a couple of inches (up to 18 inches). This particular subspecies is found in more northern regions and down along the coastal plains, but also spreads out into Oregon and Washington along the state borders.
Although mildly venomous, the venom (and fangs/teeth) of this snake is designed not for humans or larger prey, but instead for much smaller animals – small frogs and tadpoles, other snakes, slugs and snails, earthworms, salamanders, and other insects.

Pacific Ring-Necked Snake
Sacramento snake
Latin name: Diadophis punctatus amabilis
Size: 11 to 16 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
Although ring-necked snakes have a wide and varied range across North America, the Pacific ring-necked subspecies tends to be found in specific areas of the coast of California, including Monterey Bay, Sonoma Country, and north of San Francisco Bay.
The underside of this snake is usually bright red, but can also be pink or orange-tinged, and as the name might lead you to believe, there is a ring of color around the neck, often the same shade (or slightly lighter/brighter) than the underside. The body itself is black, dark olive-green, or blue-black.

Regal Ring-Necked Snake
Latin name: Diadophis punctatus regalis
Size: 11 to 34 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
Despite being one of many subspecies of ring-necked snake, this snake is actually commonly found without a ring of color around the neck, which can make it quite difficult to identify not just the species, but also the particular subspecies. Thankfully, this is considered to be a non-venomous snake to humans; the venom is very mild and doesn’t usually cause problems unless the victim has an allergy, and because the teeth are small and rear-facing -- not well-developed to bite and inject into a human.
This snake differs greatly from other subspecies of ring-necked snake because of its diet: where others will feed on earthworms, salamanders, frogs, etc., this one will eat mostly other snake species, including flat-headed, black-headed, and earth snakes.

San Bernardino Ring-Necked Snake
Latin name: Diadophis punctatus modestus
Size: 11 to 16 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
The San Bernardino subspecies of ring-necked snake is found primarily in southern areas of California, mostly along the coast. It enjoys habitats that are wet or moist, including farmlands, grasslands, residential parks and gardens, and meadows. You can also sometimes find this snake in woodlands and forests of mixed coniferous trees. This subspecies is on the US Forest Service conservation watch list, however, so sightings are thought to be somewhat rare.
In some places, this ring-necked snake shares the habitat of other similar-colored snakes, such as the western black-headed snake. The latter tends to have a lighter body in shades or brown or caramel-tan, and the ring around the neck is missing the pink, red, or orange coloration, appearing white or creamy-white.

San Diego Ring-Necked Snake
Latin name: Diadophis punctatus similis
Size:11 to 16 inches
Venomous: No (Yes, but not harmful to humans)
Ring-necked snakes, generally, are nocturnal snakes, although it isn’t uncommon to see them if you turn over rocks or logs in habitats such as moist grasslands, forests, and rocky hillsides. Providing the environment is moist (or close to water) but dry and has plenty of hiding spots, the ring-necked snake can thrive there.
The San Diego ring-necked snake is one of three subspecies that are on the threatened or endangered federal list. Numbers are declining and sightings are thought to be quite rare. This isn’t helped by the snake’s incredibly secretive nature, which often means it’ll slither away before it has a chance to be observed by experts.

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake
Latin name: Hydrophis platurus
Size: 10 to 45 inches
Venomous: Yes
This venomous snake is often every bit as yellow-bellied as the name would lead you to believe – and quite a bright, sunshine shade of yellow, too. It looks very bright and vivid against the usually black back.
It is rare to spot this snake in California despite its diurnal nature, because it spends all of its life at seas – almost completely aquatic. Calm waters can sometimes bring the snake up to the surface, but it is believed that the species can stay underwater, on a single breath, for up to three hours at a time. Thankfully, it seems to take a lot to encourage this potentially deadly snake to bite – although we certainly wouldn’t recommend trying to get bitten!

Common Sharp-Tailed Snake
Sacramento snake
Latin name: Contia tenuis
Size: 8 to 12 inches
Venomous: No
There are two subspecies of the sharp-tailed snake found in the state of California – and the common sharp-tailed snake is the most widespread of the two, inhabiting almost all of central California, the coastal regions, and towards the north of the state.
The common subspecies has a shorter tail than the forest sharp-tailed snake, and the pattern of darker cross-bands across the back tend to be thicker, too. As the name might suggest, both have a sharp tail but this is not dangerous to humans. This is a shy and secretive snake that would much rather be left alone, and will likely flee from danger.

Forest Sharp-Tailed Snake
Latin name: Contia longicauda
Size:8 to 12 inches
Venomous: No
This thin snake is usually gray in color, sometimes tinged with olive-green, light brown, red, or golden-yellow. There are two stripes of a lighter shade that run from directly behind the eyes, all the way down to the tail, and the underside is patterned with a checker-board of dark brown/black and white/yellow-cream.
Just as you’d think from the name, the forest sharp-tailed snake inhabits mostly forest areas that are moist. Redwood and fir forests are preferred, but it is not uncommon to find the snake in conifer and oak-sense woodlands.

Colorado Desert Shovel-Nosed Snake
Latin name: Chionactis annulata annulata
Size: 10 to 18 inches
Venomous: No
This snake isn’t a venomous species, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Colorado desert shovel-nosed snake is a close relative of the venomous coral snake. This snake is commonly cream, off-white, or yellow-gray in color, with thick bands of black that travel across the body. More often than not, these bands are separated with a band of orange or red, giving it a coral snake-like appearance. The bands do not carry on all around the body, however. It is in the very southern and south-eastern areas of California that you are likely to find this subspecies of shovel-nosed snake, in habitats that are hot, dry and dusty. Rocky hillsides and sandy flats or dunes are ideal.

Mohave Shovel-Nosed Snake
Latin name: Chionactis occipitalis
Size: 10 to 18 inches
Venomous: No
The Mohave shovel-nosed snake looks very much like the Colorado desert shovel-nosed snake, which you can also find in the state of California (south-western areas), with the exception of one thing: this subspecies rarely has the bands or orange or red to separate the bands of black. The bands are not complete, and the underside is usually light gray, cream, or almost white. In fact, some specimens of this snake look black-and-white striped.
This snake is a burrowing one, using the unique shape of its head to help it maneuver through the loose, sandy substrate. This is where it finds insects, scorpions, moths, spiders, and more to eat.

Colorado Desert Sidewinder
Latin name: Crotalus cerastes laterorepens
Size: 16 to 34 inches
Venomous: Yes
To non-experts, this snake can look very much like other rattlesnakes, including the Mohave desert sidewinder. It has similar colorings, similar markings, and a similar body/head shape. When you look towards the rattle, however, you can see small changes. This subspecies has a black segment between the body and lighter-colored rattle, but this isn’t clear in juveniles. The coloration appears to come in after three sheddings – three segments on the rattle-tail.
Generally, this pit viper is either gray, black, brown, tan, or even a pinky-shade, with darker blotches decorating the back.

Mohave Desert Sidewinder
Latin name: Crotalus cerastes cerastes
Size: 18 to 30 inches
Venomous: Yes
This snake, much like other species of rattlesnake, is a venomous one – but the venom of this subspecies is considered to be weaker than the rest. Despite this, bites are still painful, the venom causing some very unpleasant side effects, and it can still be fatal for people if urgent medical attention isn’t sought.
Also known as the horned rattlesnake, sidewinder, sidewinder rattler, and various other names, it is in the south-eastern regions of California that you may encounter it, in hot, arid, desert territories.

Desert Thread Snake
Latin name: Rena humilis cahuilae
Size: 7 to 16 inches long-nose
Venomous: No
It is in the south-eastern half of California that you might spot a desert thread snake, although there’s a chance that you might confuse it with a humble worm if you do. Often glossy pink-brown and with iridescent-looking scales, it even spends most of its time in the ground, in soft and sandy, loose soils, just as a worm would.
This snake feeds primarily on termites and ants, taking full advantage of its small and slender body to invade anthills, termite mounds, and similar burrow systems. Because of this, it is considered a good snake for humans, keeping populations of these potential pests controlled.

Southwestern Thread Snake
Latin name:Rena humilis humilis
Size:7 to 16 inches
Venomous: No
The desert thread snake tends to be more pale pink-purple in color, but this subspecies – the southwestern thread snake – is often a darker shade of purple, gray, or almost black, alongside the same pale shades as its cousin.
This snake is a nocturnal one, and tends to hide beneath rocks, in rocky crevices, and burrowed beneath soft soil when it does venture out. This snake likes to play dead when threatened or provoked, and it also releases a pungent fluid from its cloaca to ward off potential threats. This also works to prevent the termites and ants it feeds on fighting back, too.

Common Water Snake
Latin name: Nerodia sipedon
Size: 12 to 42 inches
Venomous: No
The common water snake, much like other water snakes, is not native to California, but small populations have developed in the state – and they are said to be thriving, at the detriment of local, native wildlife. As well as eating other, non-native prey items, such as American bullfrogs, the common water snake is also feeding on native Pacific chorus frogs, and other native prey items. In turn, this is causing problems with a number of garter snake species, and other animal populations.
Available in a range of colors, this snake is in California because of the growing pet industry – but it is unlawful to transport, possess or import Nerodia-genus water snakes in the state. If you believe you have one on your property, it is important to call in the experts to avoid legal problems.

Southern Water Snake
Latin name: Nerodia fasciata
Size: 22 to 40 inches
Venomous: No
Water snakes are not native to California. The southern water snake in particular is native to Texas, Illinois, Florida, and North Carolina – across the south-east of the country. It is thought to be down to the pet industry that this snake has found its way into the Californian coast – and in small areas, it is thriving. Because of this, native garter snakes are suffering, although the water snake does have a habit of feeding on other non-native creatures rather than native ones.
If you believe you have seen a southern water snake in California, or any other species of water/non-native snake, get in touch with local authorities to report it.

Florida Water Snake
Latin name: Nerodia fasciata pictiventris
Size: 22 to 60 inches
Venomous: No
This snake doesn’t belong in California – it is native to Florida, as the name suggests, and its introduction into California is wreaking havoc with some of the native wildlife. The population of giant garter snakes are struggling as a result, and local governments and organizations are encouraging people to report sightings of the snake to try and get the situation back under control.
According to local authorities, populations of the Florida water snake have been reported in Sacramento County (Folsom), Los Angeles County, Harbor City, Machado Lake, and Kenneth Malloy Memorial Part.

Alameda Whip Snake
Latin name: Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus
Size: 30 to 48 inches
Venomous: No
You are highly unlikely to see the Alameda whip snake in the wilds of California, because the animal is a federally threatened species that has seen its localities reduced from 60 to just 5 since 1992 alone. Experts are not sure of how many of this snake species remains in the state, but it is believed that there are only five main population groups remaining, in certain areas of Santa Clara, San Joaquin, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties.
This snake, much like other racer and whip snake subspecies, is quite aggressive when provoked or threatened. It will repeatedly bite if you don’t leave it alone, but being a fast-moving snake, it’ll likely have slithered off before you’ve noticed it’s there.

California Whip Snake
Latin name: Masticophis lateralis lateralis
Size: 30 to 48 inches
Venomous: No
The California whip snake is also known as the chaparral whip snake or striped racer, and can be found across most of California, apart from the higher elevations and low valleys, the deserts, and also the very northernmost coast. It is linked to habitats that are close to bodies of water, such as the edges of ponds, streams, and lakes, and also open woodlands, scrub lands, and rocky hillsides.
A slender, dark-colored (black, dark gray, or dark brown) snake with lighter stripes of yellow of light olive-green that run down the length of the body, along each side, it mostly feeds on lizards, but will also eat a variety of other items, including rats, mice, other small mammals, snakes, birds, bird eggs, and insects.

Desert Striped Whip Snake
Latin name: Coluber taeniatus taeniatus
Size: 24 to 68 inches
Venomous: No
The desert striped whip snake is a daytime-active snake, but there’s a chance you’ll never spot this secretive and speedy serpent. With excellent vision, it’ll likely sense you coming before you know of its existence, at which point it’ll flee as fast as it can. If this isn’t possible, however, the non-venomous snake will strike to defend itself.
The underside of this snake tends to be yellow, cream, or gray in color, turning into a bright pink, red, or coral shade towards the tail end. The main body of the snake is usually dark in color – brown, black, dark gray, or olive-green, with brighter stripes of gray or white running down the sides. As with the change of color on the underside, the stripes tend to transform into dots or bands as you get towards the tail.