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Pacific Gopher Snake, Pituophis melanoleucus ssp. catenifer
Gopher Snake, Pituophis melanoleucus
Photo by Bob McClellan in northern California

A good first step in learning about your own local snakes is to acquire a field guide for identification (some are listed on our Snaky Books page), then sit down and go through the distribution maps of every species in the book.

List all the species that possibly could occur in your area. Once you have that list, then you can begin learning about each species, and looking for them in the right places, making notes next to each name.

To give you an idea of what such a list could look like, below is the list I made when I lived in southwestern Mississippi.

The species marked with a ? are those for which my location appeared at the very edge of the species' distribution, and I wasn't sure if the species was there or not. The names in red are venomous species.

Snakes possibly found around Natchez, Mississippi

Worm Snake
Scarlet Snake
Racer
Ringneck Snake
Corn Snake
Rat Snake
Mud Snake
Rainbow Snake
Eastern Hognose Snake
Prairie Kingsnake
Common Kingsnake
Milk Snake
Green Water Snake
Plain-bellied Water Snake
Southern Water Snake
Diamondback Water Snake
Northern Water Snake
Coachwhip
Rough Green Snake
Pine-Gopher Snake
Glossy Crayfish Water Snake
Brown Snake
Red-bellied Snake
Southeastern Crowned Snake
? Western Ribbon Snake
Eastern Ribbon Snake
Common Garter Snake
Rough Earth Snake
Smooth Earth Snake
Eastern Coral Snake
Copperhead
Cottonmouth
Timber Rattlesnake
Pigmy Rattlesnake