Thursday, August 30, 2007


FAMILY LEPTOTYPHLOPIDAE (slender blind snakes)This family of snakes is composed of 50 species in two families. They are generally regarded as the most primitive snakes, having a pelvic girdle and vestiglial hind limbs. They have a single lung and oviduct and are well adapted to their burrowing life style. They feed exclusively on small invertebrates such as ant and termite larvae. Leptotyphlopids are oviparous. There are two species of this family in North America.
Leptotyphlops dulcis
Texas Blind Snake
Leptotyphlops humilis
Western Blind Snake
FAMILY BOIDAE (boas and pythons)Boidae is a large family of snakes that includes all five of the world's giant snakes. Boids are an ancient family that are characterized by a mixture of modern and primitive traits. They have flexible jaws found in more advanced families but also retain a pelvic girdle, vestigial hind limbs, and many use both lungs. While there are close to one hundred species of boids worldwide, there are only two species of boas found in North America, both in the sub-family Eryciniae.
Charina bottae
Rubber Boa
Lichanura trivirgata
Rosy Boa
COLUBRIDAE (colubrid snakes)The Colubrid snakes are sometimes refered to as "typical snakes". They comprise the largest family by far with over 2000 species worldwide. Most are medium sized snakes, and all lack a pelvic girdle and have no vestigial hind limbs and whose left lung is either absent or greatly reduced. Most species are considered members of two large subfamilies, Colubrinae and Natricinae which are distinguished by the presence (Natricinae) or absence (Colubrinae) of spines on the lumbar vertebrae. Both subfamilies contain over 200 genera. The Colubrinae subfamily includes two of the genera popular with herpetoculturists, Elaphe and Lampropeltis. The Natricinae subfamily includes water snakes (Nerodia) and garter snakes (Thamnophis) among others. With a family this large, there will always be disagreements about classification, especially regarding the numbers and types of subspecies. This list includes 102 species of Colubrid snakes found in North America. Subspecies are not included in this scheme. Other lists may vary.
Arizona elegans
Glossy Snake
Bogertophis rosaliae
Baja California Rat Snake
Bogertophis subocularis
Trans-Pecos Rat Snake
Carphophis amoenus
Worm Snake
Cemophora coccinea
Scarlet Snake
Chilomeniscus cinctus
Banded Sand Snake
Chionactis occipitalis
Western Shovelnose Snake
Chionactis palarostris
Sonoran Shovelnose Snake
Clonophis kirtlandii
Kirtland's Snake
Coluber constrictor
Coniophanes imperialis
Black-striped Snake
Contia tenuis
Sharptail Snake
Diadophis punctatus
Ringneck Snake
Drymarchon corais
Indigo Snake
Drymobius margaritiferus
Speckled Racer
Elaphe bairdii
Baird's Rat Snake
Elaphe emoryi
Emory's Rat Snake
Elaphe guttata
Corn Snake
Elaphe obsoleta
Common Rat Snake
Elaphe slowinskii
Slowinski's Corn Snake
Elaphe vulpina
Fox Snake
Farancia abacura
Mud Snake
Farancia erytrogramma
Rainbow Snake
Ficimia streckeri
Mexican Hooknose Snake
Gyalopion canum
Western Hooknose Snake
Gyalopion quadrangulare
Desert Hooknose Snake
Heterodon nasicus
Western Hognose Snake
Heterodon platirhinos
Eastern Hognose Snake Picture 2
Heterodon simus
Southern Hognose Snake
Hypsiglena torquata
Night Snake
Lampropeltis alterna
Gray-banded Kingsnake
Lampropeltis calligaster
Prairie Kingsnake
Lampropeltis getula
Common Kingsnake
Lampropeltis pyromelana
Sonora Mountain Kingsnake
Lampropeltis triangulum
Milk Snake
Lampropeltis zonata
California Mountain Kingsnake
Leptodeira septentrionalis
Cat-eyed Snake
Masticophis bilineatus
Sonoran Whipsnake
Masticophis flagellum
Masticophis lateralis
Striped Racer
Masticophis taeniatus
Striped Whipsnake
Nerodia clarkii
Salt Marsh Snake
Nerodia cyclopion
Mississippi Green Water Snake
Nerodia erythrogaster
Plainbelly Water Snake
Nerodia fasciata
Southern Water Snake
Nerodia floridana
Florida Green Water Snake
Nerodia harteri
Brazos Water Snake
Nerodia paucimaculata
Concho Water Snake
Nerodia rhombifer
Diamondback Water Snake
Nerodia sipedon
Nothern Water Snake
Nerodia taxispilota
Brown Water Snake
Opheodrys aestivus
Rough Green Snake
Opheodrys vernalis
Smooth Green Snake
Oxybelis aeneus
Mexican Vine Snake
Phyllorhynchus browni
Saddle Leafnose Snake
Phyllorhynchus decurtatus
Spotted Leafnose Snake
Pituophis catenifer
Gopher Snake
Pituophis melanoleucus
Regina alleni
Striped Crayfish Snake
Regina grahamii
Graham's Crayfish Snake
Regina rigida
Glossy Crayfish Snake
Regina septemvittata
Queen Snake
Rhadinaea flavilata
Pine Woods Snake
Rhinocheilus lecontei
Longnose Snake
Salvadora derserticola
Big Bend Patchnose Snake
Salvadora grahamiae
Mountain Patchnose Snake
Salvadora hexalepis
Western Patchnose Snake
Seminatrix pygaea
Black Swamp Snake
Senticolis triaspis
Green Rat Snake
Sonora semiannulata
Ground Snake
Stilosoma extenuatum
Short-tailed Snake
Storeria dekayi
Brown Snake
Storeria occipitomaculata
Redbelly Snake
Tantilla atriceps
Mexican Blackhead Snake
Tantilla coronata
Southeastern Crowned Snake
Tantilla gracilis
Flathead Snake
Tantilla hobartsmithi
Southwestern Blackhead Snake
Tantilla nigriceps
Plains Blackhead Snake
Tantilla oolitica
Rim Rock Crowned Snake
Tantilla planiceps
Western Blackhead Snake
Tantilla relicta
Florida Crowned Snake
Tantilla rubra
Big Bend Blackhead Snake
Tantilla wilcoxi
Chihuahuan Blackhead Snake
Tantilla yaquia
Yaqui Blackhead Snake
Thamnophis atratus
Santa Cruz Garter Snake
Thamnophis brachystoma
Shorthead Garter Snake
Thamnophis butleri
Butler's Garter Snake
Thamnophis couchi
Western Aquatic Garter Snake
Thamnophis cyrtopsis
Blackneck Garter Snake
Thamnophis elegans
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake
Thamnophis eques
Mexican Garter Snake
Thamnophis gigas
Giant Garter Snake
Thamnophis marcianus
Checkered Garter Snake
Thamnophis ordinoides
Northwestern Garter Snake
Thamnophis proximus
Western Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis radix
Plains Garter Snake
Thamnophis rufipunctatus
Narrowhead Garter Snake
Thamnophis sauritus
Eastern Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis sirtalis
Common Garter Snake
Trimorphodon biscutatus
Lyre Snake
Tropidoclonion lineatum
Lined Snake
Virginia striatula
Rough Earth Snake
Virginia valeriae
Smooth Earth Snake
ELAPIDAE (cobras and coral snakes)
VenomousThe cobra family is thought to have evolved from Colubrid snakes and many appear very similar in appearance with long, slender bodies and large scales (plates) on the head. They differ in having more advanced venom delivery systems than the venomous Colubrids. Elapids have fangs that are "effectively tubular" in that the fangs contain grooves that are enclosed by an infolding of the edges. The fangs are in the front of the mouth rather than the rear as is seen in venomous Colubrids. The Elapidae contains some of the world's most dangerous snakes including cobras (Naja), mambas (Dendroaspis) and sea snakes (Hydophinae and Laticaudinae). Elapids are found worldwide and in Ausralia are the predominant family. In North America, three species of elapids are found, two species of coral snakes and one sea snake. The coral snakes are relatively small snakes that spend most of their time underground. Their primary food is other snakes. Despite their small size and small fangs, their venom is extremely toxic.
Micruroides euryxanthus
Western Coral Snake
Micrurus fulvius
Eastern Coral Snake
Pelamis platurus
Yellowbelly Sea Snake
VIPERIDAE (vipers)
VenomousThe vipers are generally considered to be the most advanced family of snakes since they possess a very sophisticated venom delivery system. Large tubular fangs are placed in the front of the mouth and they are hinged, allowing them to be folded back when not in use. Their heads are covered with numerous small scales and their eyes have vertically eliptical pupils. All the vipers found in North America are in the subfamily of pit vipers (Crotalinae) having a pair of heat sensing pits located between each eye and nostril. The rattlesnakes are a truly American family of pit vipers since they are not found in the Old World and all but two species are found in the U.S. or Mexico. They are divided between two genera based on their head scales. Members of the genus Crotalus have numerous small scales on their heads while members of the genus Sistrurus have large scales (plates) on their heads.
Agkistrodon contortrix
Agkistrodon piscivorus
Crotalus adamanteus
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Crotalus atrox
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Crotalus cerastes
Crotalus enyo
Lower California rattlesnake
Crotalus horridus
Timber Rattlesnake
Crotalus lepidus
Rock Rattlesnake
Crotalus mitchellii
Speckled Rattlesnake
Crotalus molossus
Blacktail Rattlesnake
Crotalus pricei
Twin-spotted Rattlesnake
Crotalus ruber
Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Crotalus scutulatus
Mojave Rattlesnake
Crotalus tigris
Tiger Rattlesnake
Crotalus viridis
Western Rattlesnake
Crotalus willardi
Ridgenose Rattlesnake
Sistrurus catenatus
Sistrurus miliarius
Pigmy Rattlesnake
Scientific and common names from J T Collins, Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles, Third Edition, Soc Study Amph & Rept Herp Circular No , Order of families from J L Behler and F W King, The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians, Alfred A Knopf,
Compiled for Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA , by Doug Henderson and Dennis Paulson, October, 1995
More Information on Snakes
Whats the difference between Lampropeltis and Elaphe?
Lampropeltis Information
More Snake Pictures
Corn Snakes Genetics
Snake IdentificationPlease do not email me asking for help identifying your snake.I just don't have the time to answer all the emails this site generates. Sorry.
Here's my advice though. Don't kill it! Leave it alone and it will leave you alone.
If you really do want to identify a snake, get a field guide at the library or book store. These will have information on the geopgraphic ranges and that will allow you to narrow your search.
Good luck and thanks for visiting my Snakes of North America page.