Snakes in South Carolina?

Are snakes a problem in South Carolina?

If you’ve spent any time outdoors in South Carolina, odds are you’ve come across a snake or two. And while snakes cause many of us to freak out, in reality, most snakes are harmless and will do their best to stay away from your dogs and out of your way.

What are 3 venomous snakes found in South Carolina?

The State of South Carolina has approximately 38 different species of snakes. Of these, a total of five are considered to be venomous. These include the cottonmouth snake, the copperhead snake, the coral snake, the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the pigmy rattlesnake, and the timber rattlesnake.

How common are snakes in South Carolina?

The DNR says there are 38 species of snakes found in South Carolina, and only five are venomous:Coral snake (rare to very uncommon)Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (rare to very uncommon)Timber (or canebrake) rattlesnake (rare)Pigmy rattlesnake (uncommon)Copperhead (common to abundant)Cottonmouth (common to abundant) …

Are black mambas in South Carolina?

The copperhead is South Carolina’s most common venomous snake. … The coral snake is South Carolina’s only representative of a group of snakes known as elapids. This family of snakes contains some of the world’s deadliest snakes including cobras, mambas and the Australian snakes such as the taipan and tiger snake.

Are you wondering if the snake in your yard is venomous or what snake you saw today? Continue reading to help you identify the snakes you may come across in South Carolina.

The juveniles look the same as adults, except they have bright yellow on the tip of their tail, which fades as they age. Copperhead snakes are most common in the forest areas throughout South Carolina.

Cottonmouths are venomous snakes, that are also semi-aquatic, sometimes called water moccasins. They have a dark belly with brown to yellow patches and the underside of the tail is black. They can often be found around drying pools in the wetlands, where they feed on the trapped amphibians and fish.

They can be seen throughout the year and on sunny days, they will be basking on rocks and logs along the edge of the water. Unlike non-venomous water snakes, the cottonmouth will not flee if approached but will stand its ground. Cottonmouth bites are not that common unless they are picked up or accidentally stepped on.

They are heavy bodies and large snakes with broad heads that have two lines on the face. While they do avoid wet areas, they can sometimes be observed on the edge of swamps, where they are very accomplished swimmers. The timber or canebrake rattlesnake is a large snake with rattles on the end of the tail.

Canebrake rattlesnakes as they are known in the Coastal Plain of the Southeast are usually gray with a pink, yellow, orange, or brown stripe that runs down the back. The majority of these snakes, even though considerably large, are not aggressive, even if you encounter them in their natural habitats. Often they will simply not move, but if threatened, they can give a serious bite, which will require immediate and urgent medical attention.

They have nine large scales on the top of their heads and a tiny rattle you can barely hear. They have orange or red-brown dorsal stripes with younger snakes having yellow at the tip of their tail, which fades as they age. The pigmy rattlesnake in South Carolina prefers drier habitats, such as pine forests and sandhills.

The body is dark to light brown on top and white to pink on the bottom. These snakes can be found in the mountains and Coastal Plain in South Carolina. They have patterns that alternate yellow, black, white, and red.

They have a pointed snout with their red bands being wider than the other colors, which can help you differentiate them against the venomous coral snake. These snakes are found throughout the Coastal Plain and all mountainous areas in northwestern South Carolina. They spend the majority of their time underground, sometimes hiding under logs and rocks.

Eastern racers are large, slender, solid black snakes that can grow up to 60 inches in length. They have large eyes with white under the chin and smooth scales. These snakes will flee if approached and will very rarely stand their ground.

Younger snakes are tan or gray with brown to red patches down the middle of their backs, their patterns and colors turn black when they reach around 12 inches. Ringnecks are small and slender snakes, growing up to 15 inches (38cm). They are gray in color with an orange or yellow band around their neck and underside.

There are two subspecies found in South Carolina, one prefers mountainous areas and has a complete ring around the neck with no pattern on the underside, where the other prefers the Coastal Plain and has a broken neck ring and black spots on the underside. Both are tan to black in color with females being larger than the male. It can grow up to 84 inches and is black to blue in color, which includes the belly.

Eastern indigo snakes can be found in southern South Carolina. There is also a spear-shaped mark on the top of the head, which points in the direction of the nose. They are common in the Coastal Plain where they prefer sandy habitats.

Its not uncommon to encounter a corn snake in an old barn or deserted house, where they hunt for mice and rats. An adult rat snake can grow up to 72 inches in length. They are large and vary in appearance depending on their geographical range.

The yellow rat snakes are yellow, orange, or green with four stripes that run the length of the body and gray rat snakes are light to dark gray with brown to gray patches. Black and yellow rat snakes can be found in South Carolina where they live in hardwood forests, swamp margins, and river floodplains. They can grow up to 81 inches and are heavy bodies with black on their backs.

Their belly is black and red or pink checkerboards with some yellow on the head. They are sometimes encountered in aquatic habitats such as bays, swamps, marshes, slow-moving streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. The young mud snake often lives in a seasonal wetland as a juvenile and moves to a permanent water source as it gets older.

They are beautiful snakes with three red stripes that run down their backs. They can be found in a range of aquatic habitats including tidal or brackish water. They are variable in color but have an upturned snout, which helps with identification.

They will suck in the air if confronted and spread the skin around their neck and head while hissing and pretending to strike. They can be encountered throughout South Carolina in woodlands, farmland, and coastal areas. The southern hognose is a small snake with a heavy body that can grow up to 24 inches in length.

They have upturned snouts, which are pointed and are gray, tan, or red with dark brown patches down the center of the back and smaller patches on the sides. They are found in scattered locations in South Carolina where they live in pine flat woods, coastal dunes, and sandhills. These harmless snakes may put on a defensive display before they play dead.

They grow up to 40 inches and have smooth scales and light brown to red-colored bodies with red to brown spots down the length of their dorsum, which fades with age. It is mostly seen in the Coastal Plain in South Carolina but can be found in open habitats, including fields, thickets, and cultivated land. The Eastern kingsnake is a large smooth scaled snake that is shiny black, growing up to 48 inches.

They have white to yellow chain-linked bands across the back, connecting on the sides, which is why some people refer to them as chain kingsnakes. The Eastern kingsnake from the Coastal Plain has wide bands and those from mountainous regions have thin bands, sometimes almost completely black in color. They can be encountered throughout South Carolina where they prefer areas close to water.

Scarlet kingsnakes are smaller than the milk snake, growing to 20 inches in length with beautiful coloration. They have alternating bands of yellow, black, and red where the red touches the black but does not touch the yellow bands. Milksnakes are mid-sized snakes growing to 35 inches and have a Y shape on the base of the head.

They are tan to gray with black-bordered brown patches on the base of the dorsum. The milk snake is restricted to the mountainous areas in northwest South Carolina, while the scarlet kingsnake is found in the sandy habitats of the Coastal Plain. Milksnakes are commonly found in barns, hiding under rocks and boards, while the scarlet kingsnake prefers to live underground.

They have distinctive coloring which fades from black on the head to tan on the body and almost white by the time it reaches the tail, some are completely tan. They can be encountered in the mountainous areas of northwest South Carolina and throughout the Coastal Plain. They can be observed throughout the Coastal Plain where they are found near lakes, rivers, swamps, and most commonly seen basking near the water source, soaking up the sun.

Their color can vary from light brown to black or red with dark crossbands. The crossbands are wider on the center of the back and narrow as it reaches the sides. These snakes get darker as they age, which means the crossbands may not be as visible.

They have square spots on the side of the belly and a dark stripe that runs from the jaw to the eye. They can be observed near freshwater, which includes lakes, rivers, swamps, marshes, streams, and ponds. Green water snakes are the largest water snake you will encounter in North America and can grow up to 55 inches in length.

The younger snakes have dark bars down their dorsum and their sides, which fade with age. They can be found in western and southern Carolina, where there are two isolated populations. They prefer areas such as marshes and swamps but are sometimes seen in ponds, slow rivers, lakes, ditches, and brackish water sources.

Northern water snakes can grow up to 55 inches and are dark in color, which can range from brown to gray or tan. They live in a variety of aquatic habitats, including marshes, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. You may encounter one as it basks in the sun on a branch that hangs over the water.

They are light to dark brown and have dark brown square patches that run down the center of the dorsum with two lines that run in alternating arrows down the side of the body. These water snakes can be found in a range of aquatic habitats, but they prefer flowing water such as cypress creeks, rivers, and canals. They will bite if cornered, which can be painful but is not considered dangerous or venomous.

They can grow up to 32 inches in length and are bright green, which helps you identify them in South Carolina. They enjoy a wide variety of habitats but are often encountered in open forests, wetlands, and river edges. Their color can range from light gray to white or yellow with dark square patches on the back and side that lighten as they near the tail and darken as they near the head.

They are found throughout the Coastal Plain in South Carolina where they prefer sandhills and sandy pine habitats, though they are sometimes seen in oak forests, abandoned fields, and dry mountainous areas. They are excellent at burrowing and spend the majority of their time underground, surfacing from May to October. If approached, they will hiss, vibrate their tail and strike, but they are not venomous.

They have heavy bodies, large eyes, and short heads with a brown to green color that has three stripes that run the length of the body. Their belly is orange to yellow with dark spots down the center. They live in aquatic habitats, which include saw grass prairies, sphagnum bogs, cypress stands, swamps, and ditches.

They have large eyes, short heads, and heavy bodies that are a shiny olive to brown with two light stripes that run down the length of the body. They have a yellow belly which has two rows of dark spots and is very similar in appearance to the striped crayfish snake. They are common in the Coastal Plain and being highly aquatic they prefer wetland habitats.

They grow to around 24 inches and are gray in color, though they can range from olive green to light brown with three dark stripes running down the body with two lighter stripes on the sides. They are commonly observed near running waters, such as rivers and streams, though they sometimes live in lakes. They have a dark stripe that goes through the eye with yellow scales on the upper lip.

They are found scattered throughout the Coastal Plain with the majority of inland populations identified on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Black swamp snakes are small and high aquatic. They are glossy black in color with a bright red belly.

They are found in the coastal Plain and in a variety of aquatic habitats including bays, sphagnum bogs, ponds, lakes, ditches, and saw grass prairies. In South Carolina, they live in heavily vegetated wetlands that tend to dry up periodically, which makes it home to an abundance of amphibians. They have a white to light brown belly with black dots on each side.

They hide under logs and leaf litter feeding mostly on slugs and earthworms. These woodland snakes come in a variety of colors with some being orange to brown, others black, and some gray. They have a bright orange to red underside, which helps you distinguish them from other small woodland snakes in the area.

They can be observed in a host of woodland habitats in the Coastal Plain, where there are small wetlands. These secretive snakes are usually encountered when lifting a log or rock. They curl their lips in bizarre behavior when threatened, but very seldom bite.

Florida brown snakes are small gray to brown snakes with a light band across the neck and dark on the lip scales. They grow to 13 inches and have tiny dots on either side of the belly. They enjoy a variety of habitats where it is moist with plenty of ground covers, such as swamps, wetland margins, hardwood hammocks, and suburban yards.

Their belly is yellow, white, or pink with smooth scales. They are rarely observed outside the Coastal Plain where they live in a variety of habitats where they can hide under debris, rocks, logs, and leaf litter. They have a light spot which can be seen on both sides of the neck and a white to yellow belly.

They prefer well-drained sandhills and are often found in longleaf pine and turkey oak scrub habitats. If you are specifically looking for one, you can turn over rocks, logs, and debris, as they may be hiding underneath. They can grow up to 35 inches and have no patterns on their lip scales, which helps you differentiate them against the closely related eastern garter snake.

They are observed in the Coastal Plain and have progressed to the mountainous areas and the coast. Eastern garter snakes grow up to 26 inches with three yellow stripes that run down their body. Some have a gray to red body with a checkered pattern and light stripes.

They have a light yellow to white belly and are very similar in appearance to the eastern ribbon snake. These snakes live in a variety of habitats from marshes and hillsides to meadows and woodlands where they prefer moist areas. Young are darker than the adults and have a light band on their neck, which fades as they age.

They prefer forested habitats where there is ample ground cover, where they prefer to live underground, and are often encountered when lifting a log or debris. They grow up to 10 inches (24.5cm) and have black spots on their backs and sides with a white to tan belly. The smooth earth snake from the Coastal Plains is smaller than those from the mountainous areas.

They are common in South Carolina and are found in forested habitats where there is ample ground cover.

South Carolina is home to an outstanding diversity of snakes that have fascinated herpetologist and naturalists for centuries. With 38 speices, snakes can be found in all of South Carolinas habitats and landscapes. They fill unique niches and play intregral roles as both predators and prey. Explore the species list below and click on the description or photo to open a more detailed account.

The dorsal coloration can range from tan to dark brown and can often have an iridescent shimmer. They have large red spots boarded by black that extend from one side of the snake to the other and separated by white or yellowish ground coloration.

From above, the snake looks as if it has a series of red, black and yellow bands extending down the body. North American Racer ( Coluber constrictor ) A long slender snake that can reach adult sizes up to 60 inches (152cm). This is one of the longest snakes in the Southeastern United States with adults reaching up over 72 inches (244cm) in length.

Juveniles are typically tan on their whole body and may have irregular dark bands on the head and neck. Juveniles are similar to adults, but with more of the belly pattern extending up on the sides of the body. Dorsally this snake has three red lines running down a dark stout body.

The underside is pink to reddish and The eyes of the snake are small and dark, and the tip of the tail is pointed. They can reach up to two feet in length and are generally gray, light brown, or reddish in color with darker blotches going down the back and sides. Prairie Kingsnake ( Lampropeltis calligaster ) Also known as a Mole Kingsnake, this medium sized snake (30 50 inches) has a light brown or orange body with a row of reddish-brown spots on the spine going down the length of the body.

Scarlet Kingsnake ( Lampropeltis elapsoides ) This is one of the most colorful and vibrant snakes in the Southeastern United States. Eastern Milksnake ( Lampropeltis triangulum ) This medium sized snake is quite variable across its range, but it is generally tan in color with darker brown or reddish blotches with black edges going down the body. It has shiny black smooth scales above, dark eyes, and a deep red coloration on the belly.

Glossy Swampsnake ( Liodytes rigida ) Also known as the Glossy Crayfish Snake, this is a medium sized shiny snake with a plain-brown to olive-brown dorsal coloration with faint dark stripes going down the length of the body. The belly scales are pale with two rows of distinct black half moon patterns. Plain-bellied Watersnake ( Nerodia erythrogaster ) A fairly large bodied snake achieving an average adult length between 30 48 inches (76 122 cm).

Adults are plain brown above with keeled scales and a contrasting reddish or yellowish belly coloration. Southern Watersnake ( Nerodia fasciata ) Often referred to as the Banded Water Snake, this snake is recognized by unbroken brown to reddish cross bands extending down the length of their dark brown body. The belly of this snake is pale with square or triangular reddish blotches on the edges.

Florida Green Watersnake ( Nerodia floridana ) Adults are large, heavy bodied snakes and have a uniformly greenish brown dorsum with a pale whitish unmarked belly. This is the largest species of Water Snake in North America and can reach 30 55 inches (76 140 cm) in length. Northern Watersnake ( Nerodia sipidon ) Adult Northern Watersnakes have keeled scales and are generally tan to dark brown in coloration with deeper brown or reddish square blotches on the back and sides.

The belly is pale to pinkish with two or more irregular half moons on each ventral scale. Rough Greensnake ( Opheodrys aestivus ) A medium sized (24 35 inches), very slender snake that is green on the dorsum with a yellow to whitish belly. Red Cornsnake ( Pantherophis guttatus ) This medium to large snake (20-48 in, 76-122 cm) almost always has some hints of reddish or orange in its pattern.

The top of the head has a spear shaped blotch with the tip of the point meeting between, or just behind the eyes. The belly is pale to white in color with dark marking resembling a nearly-checkered pattern. Adult individuals found in the north and west tend to have an all black dorsum, while coastal and southern populations are green or yellow in coloration with four black stripes extending down the entire body.

The juveniles generally are light gray in color with dark blotches going down the back. Queensnake ( Regina septemvittata ) A medium sized aquatic snake, brownish to olive green in coloration, with a yellow stripe situated on the either side of the lower body, and three faint narrow dark stripes running down the back. The belly is pale yellowish with four brown stripes extending down the length of the body.

The top of the head is a darker than the body and a key identifier of this snake is the dark strip on the face passing through the eye. Dekays Brownsnake ( Storeria dekayi ) This small gray, tan, or brown snake is usually under 20 inches (51 cm) in length when full grown. Some individuals are plain, while others may have faint lines or blotches extending down the length of the body.

The key identifying feature of this snake is the unmarked orange to red belly. Eastern Ribbonsnake ( Thamnophis saurita ) A small to medium sized slender snake with keeled scales and three bright stripes extending down the length of the dark brown to black dorsum. On the head, the Eastern Ribbon Snake has pale un-patterned lips and a white or yellowish spot just in front of the eyes.

The typical adult size is between 18 26 inches (46 66 cm) and females are generally larger than males. Common Gartersnake ( Thamnophis sirtalis ) A medium sized snake that is extremely variable in appearance. However, these stripes can be conspicuous to nonexistent in some individuals, and can range in color from yellow to brown to blueish green.

Smooth Earthsnake ( Virginia valeriae ) This small and slender brown or grayish snake has smooth scales, an unmarked light brown to pale belly, and a small head. Cottonmouth ( Agkistrodon piscivorus ) VenomousCottonmouths, also known as water moccasins, are venomous heavy bodied snakes. They are tan to light brown in color and are patterned with a series of dark diamonds outlined in lighter scales going down the back of the snake.

Most commonly, this snake is yellowish-brown to gray with black chevrons segmenting their way down the dorsal side of the body. They have keeled scales, a stout gray, tan or pinkish body, and irregular shaped dark blotches going down the back.

1. Eastern Copperhead

Copperheads are venomous and large snakes, growing up to 37 inches.They are heavy-bodied with triangular heads and cat eyes. The body is tan to brown in color with dark hourglass-shaped crossbands all the way down the body. The head is solid brown with two dots on the top of the head.The juveniles look the same as adults, except they have bright yellow on the tip of their tail, which fades as they age.The males are larger than females.Copperhead snakes are most common in the forest areas throughout South Carolina.Even though they are venomous, fatalities are very rare.

2. Cottonmouth

Cottonmouths are venomous snakes, that are also semi-aquatic, sometimes called water moccasins.They are large and can grow up to 48 inches with large triangular heads and large jowls.There is a dark line through the eye. The colors can vary and some have beautiful dark crossbands on brown and yellow, while others are plain black or brown. The older the snake, the more solid the color appears.They have a dark belly with brown to yellow patches and the underside of the tail is black.They can often be found around drying pools in the wetlands, where they feed on the trapped amphibians and fish.They can be seen throughout the year and on sunny days, they will be basking on rocks and logs along the edge of the water.Unlike non-venomous water snakes, the cottonmouth will not flee if approached but will stand its ground. Cottonmouth bites are not that common unless they are picked up or accidentally stepped on.

3. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are venomous and the largest of the 32 recognized rattlesnake species.They are heavy bodies and large snakes with broad heads that have two lines on the face.Adults can grow to around 72 inches, though one individual has been recorded at 96 inches (244cm).They are tan, brown, or yellow with brown diamonds, which are surrounded by lighter-colored scales.They live in dry sandy areas, flat woods, and pine woods, along with coastal dunes. While they do avoid wet areas, they can sometimes be observed on the edge of swamps, where they are very accomplished swimmers.

4. Timber Rattlesnake

The timber or canebrake rattlesnake is a large snake with rattles on the end of the tail.This heavy-bodied snake can grow up to 60 inches in length.Canebrake rattlesnakes as they are known in the Coastal Plain of the Southeast are usually gray with a pink, yellow, orange, or brown stripe that runs down the back.Timber rattlesnakes are usually more yellow or brown with some being black. Both have a solid black tail and black chevrons can be found on the back and sides which point to a V facing forward.They can be observed in a range of habitats including swamps, floodplains, pine forests, mountains, and rural habitats.The majority of these snakes, even though considerably large, are not aggressive, even if you encounter them in their natural habitats.Often they will simply not move, but if threatened, they can give a serious bite, which will require immediate and urgent medical attention.

5. Pigmy Rattlesnake

These are small rattlesnakes that grow to around 22 inches.They have nine large scales on the top of their heads and a tiny rattle you can barely hear. They have spots mid-dorsal with a bar that runs from the eye to the mouth. The bar can vary from red to brown to black.They have orange or red-brown dorsal stripes with younger snakes having yellow at the tip of their tail, which fades as they age.The pigmy rattlesnake in South Carolina prefers drier habitats, such as pine forests and sandhills.

6. Eastern Coralsnake

The venomous coral snake is a medium and slender snake, growing up to 30 inches in length with smooth scales.Their body is a beautiful pattern of red, black, and yellow rings with a black nose.They are often seen in pine and scrub oak sandhills, along with hardwoods and pine flat woods. They are rarely seen and spend most of their time underground.They are mostly seen in the spring and fall.

7. Worm Snake

Worm snakes are small 13 inches snakes that are brown in color with shiny and smooth scales. The body is dark to light brown on top and white to pink on the bottom.These snakes can be found in the mountains and Coastal Plain in South Carolina.They prefer forested habitats and are common in woodlands or forests near wetlands and swamps. They are often found under leaf litter, rocks, and logs.They are ground dwellers and will flee when encountered. They are completely harmless to humans.

8. Scarlet Snake

Scarlet snakes are small and slender snakes, growing to around 20 inches in length.They have patterns that alternate yellow, black, white, and red. They have a pointed snout with their red bands being wider than the other colors, which can help you differentiate them against the venomous coral snake.These snakes are found throughout the Coastal Plain and all mountainous areas in northwestern South Carolina. They can be observed in scrub habitats and pine forests.They spend the majority of their time underground, sometimes hiding under logs and rocks.

9. Eastern Racer

Eastern racers are large, slender, solid black snakes that can grow up to 60 inches in length.They have large eyes with white under the chin and smooth scales. The belly is black or dark gray.These snakes will flee if approached and will very rarely stand their ground.Younger snakes are tan or gray with brown to red patches down the middle of their backs, their patterns and colors turn black when they reach around 12 inches.They are common in South Carolina where they can be found in old fields, wetland edges, agricultural habitats, and the edges of forests.They are agile and fast and will flee if approached.

10. Ringneck Snake

Ringnecks are small and slender snakes, growing up to 15 inches (38cm).They are gray in color with an orange or yellow band around their neck and underside.There are two subspecies found in South Carolina, one prefers mountainous areas and has a complete ring around the neck with no pattern on the underside, where the other prefers the Coastal Plain and has a broken neck ring and black spots on the underside.Both are tan to black in color with females being larger than the male.

11. Eastern Indigo Snake

The Eastern indigo snake is a large black snake that is the longest snake native to the US.It can grow up to 84 inches and is black to blue in color, which includes the belly. The sides of the head and chin have orange-brown to red coloration.Juveniles look like adults but have more red on the head.Eastern indigo snakes can be found in southern South Carolina. They forage along wetland margins and are active during the day.They are not dangerous to humans but may hiss and vibrate their tails if you corner them.

12. Corn Snake

Corn snakes are large 48 inches snakes that are slender in build.They are orange, red-brown, gray, or brown in color with square black margined red or brown blotches. They have a checkered belly that is done in black and white. There is also a spear-shaped mark on the top of the head, which points in the direction of the nose.They are common in the Coastal Plain where they prefer sandy habitats. They can also be found in agricultural and suburban areas.It’s not uncommon to encounter a corn snake in an old barn or deserted house, where they hunt for mice and rats.

13. Eastern Ratsnake

An adult rat snake can grow up to 72 inches in length.They are large and vary in appearance depending on their geographical range.The black rat snakes are from the northern distribution and are black on the upper half with white in between the scales.The yellow rat snakes are yellow, orange, or green with four stripes that run the length of the body and gray rat snakes are light to dark gray with brown to gray patches.Black and yellow rat snakes can be found in South Carolina where they live in hardwood forests, swamp margins, and river floodplains. They are often encountered in abandoned buildings.

14. Mud Snake

Mud snakes are large non-venomous aquatic snakes that are very seldom observed, as they are so secretive.They can grow up to 81 inches and are heavy bodies with black on their backs.Their belly is black and red or pink checkerboards with some yellow on the head. They have smooth scales with a spine-like scale on their tail, which is why they are sometimes called horn snakes.They are sometimes encountered in aquatic habitats such as bays, swamps, marshes, slow-moving streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands.The young mud snake often lives in a seasonal wetland as a juvenile and moves to a permanent water source as it gets older.

15. Rainbow Snake

Rainbow snakes are large non-venomous snakes that can grow up to 66 inches in length.They are highly aquatic and are seldom seen.They are beautiful snakes with three red stripes that run down their backs. The base color is a glossy back with a red or pink belly with black spots and color on the sides and the head.They can be found in a range of aquatic habitats including tidal or brackish water.They are harmless and will not bite.

16. Eastern Hognose Snake

These snakes, sometimes referred to as “puff adders”, are thick-bodied snakes that can grow up to 46 inches in length.They are variable in color but have an upturned snout, which helps with identification. They can be gray, green, black, or gray in color with large rectangular markings down the center of the back.They will suck in the air if confronted and spread the skin around their neck and head while hissing and pretending to strike.Sometimes they will play dead, they will almost never bite.They can be encountered throughout South Carolina in woodlands, farmland, and coastal areas.

17. Southern Hognose Snake

The southern hognose is a small snake with a heavy body that can grow up to 24 inches in length.They have upturned snouts, which are pointed and are gray, tan, or red with dark brown patches down the center of the back and smaller patches on the sides.They are found in scattered locations in South Carolina where they live in pine flat woods, coastal dunes, and sandhills.These harmless snakes may put on a defensive display before they play dead.

18. Prairie Kingsnake

The prairie kingsnake is very seldom observed. They grow up to 40 inches and have smooth scales and light brown to red-colored bodies with red to brown spots down the length of their dorsum, which fades with age.It is mostly seen in the Coastal Plain in South Carolina but can be found in open habitats, including fields, thickets, and cultivated land.

19. Eastern Kingsnake

The Eastern kingsnake is a large smooth scaled snake that is shiny black, growing up to 48 inches.They have white to yellow chain-linked bands across the back, connecting on the sides, which is why some people refer to them as chain kingsnakes.The Eastern kingsnake from the Coastal Plain has wide bands and those from mountainous regions have thin bands, sometimes almost completely black in color.They can be encountered throughout South Carolina where they prefer areas close to water.They are secretive and can be found under objects.

20. Scarlet Kingsnake

Scarlet kingsnakes are smaller than the milk snake, growing to 20 inches in length with beautiful coloration. They have alternating bands of yellow, black, and red where the red touches the black but does not touch the yellow bands.Milksnakes are mid-sized snakes growing to 35 inches and have a Y shape on the base of the head. They are tan to gray with black-bordered brown patches on the base of the dorsum. They have a black and white checked pattern on the belly.It’s not uncommon for the milksnake to be confused with the venomous copperhead, except copperheads have an hourglass shape, rather than square or rounded patches.The milk snake is restricted to the mountainous areas in northwest South Carolina, while the scarlet kingsnake is found in the sandy habitats of the Coastal Plain.Milksnakes are commonly found in barns, hiding under rocks and boards, while the scarlet kingsnake prefers to live underground.

21. Coachwhip

Coachwhips are among the longest snakes in South Carolina, this slender snake can reach lengths of more than 40 inches.They have distinctive coloring which fades from black on the head to tan on the body and almost white by the time it reaches the tail, some are completely tan.The scales on the tail have a pattern that looks like a braided whip.They can be encountered in the mountainous areas of northwest South Carolina and throughout the Coastal Plain. They prefer sandhills and coastal areas.If captured, they will bite, though some may hide their heads or go limp if captured.

22. Plain-bellied Water Snake

Plain-bellied water snakes are large snakes growing to 48 inches (122cm). They are semi-aquatic and are dark brown, gray, or light brown in color with orange to yellow belly. Females are larger than the male.They can be observed throughout the Coastal Plain where they are found near lakes, rivers, swamps, and most commonly seen basking near the water source, soaking up the sun.Unlike other water snakes, the plain-bellied water snake will flee when approached, but they do not head for the water, but rather head onto land to escape.

23. Banded Water Snake

Banded water snakes are mid-sized snakes with heavy bodies, they are semi-aquatic and can grow up to 42 inches in length.Their color can vary from light brown to black or red with dark crossbands. The crossbands are wider on the center of the back and narrow as it reaches the sides.These snakes get darker as they age, which means the crossbands may not be as visible.They have square spots on the side of the belly and a dark stripe that runs from the jaw to the eye.They can be observed near freshwater, which includes lakes, rivers, swamps, marshes, streams, and ponds.

24. Green Water Snake

Green water snakes are the largest water snake you will encounter in North America and can grow up to 55 inches in length.The younger snakes have dark bars down their dorsum and their sides, which fade with age.Females tend to be larger than the male.They can be found in western and southern Carolina, where there are two isolated populations. They prefer areas such as marshes and swamps but are sometimes seen in ponds, slow rivers, lakes, ditches, and brackish water sources.While they are not venomous, they will bite if captured.

25. Northern Water Snake

Northern water snakes can grow up to 55 inches and are dark in color, which can range from brown to gray or tan. They have square patches on their back and sides.They are often mistaken as the venomous cottonmouth, except that the cottonmouth has bands not patches. Cottonmouths are also restricted to the Coastal Plains.They live in a variety of aquatic habitats, including marshes, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. You may encounter one as it basks in the sun on a branch that hangs over the water.If approached, the snake drops into the water to escape.

26. Brown Water Snake

Brown water snakes are large heavy-bodied semi-aquatic snakes that grow up to 60 inches.They are light to dark brown and have dark brown square patches that run down the center of the dorsum with two lines that run in alternating arrows down the side of the body. They have a light-colored belly with brown patches and black crescents.They can be seen throughout South Carolina, except in mountainous areas of northwestern South Carolina.These water snakes can be found in a range of aquatic habitats, but they prefer flowing water such as cypress creeks, rivers, and canals.They will bite if cornered, which can be painful but is not considered dangerous or venomous.

27. Rough Green Snake

Rough green snakes are long and slender snakes that are bright green with white or yellow bellies.They can grow up to 32 inches in length and are bright green, which helps you identify them in South Carolina.They enjoy a wide variety of habitats but are often encountered in open forests, wetlands, and river edges.They are tree-dwelling snakes and spend most of their time above the ground. They will freeze if encountered, trying to camouflage into their surroundings.

28. Pine Snake

The pine snake is a large heavy-bodied snake that can grow to 66 inches in length.Their color can range from light gray to white or yellow with dark square patches on the back and side that lighten as they near the tail and darken as they near the head. Their belly is white and has some dark spots on the sides. Their heads are small with a pointed snout.They are found throughout the Coastal Plain in South Carolina where they prefer sandhills and sandy pine habitats, though they are sometimes seen in oak forests, abandoned fields, and dry mountainous areas.They are excellent at burrowing and spend the majority of their time underground, surfacing from May to October.If approached, they will hiss, vibrate their tail and strike, but they are not venomous.

29. Striped Crayfish Snake

This medium-sized snake is highly aquatic and can grow up to 20 inches.They have heavy bodies, large eyes, and short heads with a brown to green color that has three stripes that run the length of the body. Their belly is orange to yellow with dark spots down the center.They live in aquatic habitats, which include saw grass prairies, sphagnum bogs, cypress stands, swamps, and ditches.They are not observed often, due to their secretive nature. They may be seen crossing a road on a wet night.

30. Glossy Crayfish Snake

The glossy crayfish snake is a highly aquatic snake that is medium in size, growing to 24 inches.They have large eyes, short heads, and heavy bodies that are a shiny olive to brown with two light stripes that run down the length of the body. They have a yellow belly which has two rows of dark spots and is very similar in appearance to the striped crayfish snake.They are common in the Coastal Plain and being highly aquatic they prefer wetland habitats. They are not encountered very often, due to their secretive nature.If captured, they will hiss and strike, but they seldom bite.

31. Queen Snake

The queen snake is a medium-sized slender snake that is common in flowing waters.They grow to around 24 inches and are gray in color, though they can range from olive green to light brown with three dark stripes running down the body with two lighter stripes on the sides.They have a yellow belly with four brown stripes, two down the center of the belly and one on either side.They are commonly observed near running waters, such as rivers and streams, though they sometimes live in lakes.

32. Pine Woods Snake

These are small snakes that grow up to 13 inches and are slender. They are mostly brown, though can range from a red to a golden brown color with a darker head. They have a dark stripe that goes through the eye with yellow scales on the upper lip.They are found scattered throughout the Coastal Plain with the majority of inland populations identified on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. They are common around wetland margins.

33. Black Swamp Snake

Black swamp snakes are small and high aquatic. They are glossy black in color with a bright red belly.They are found in the coastal Plain and in a variety of aquatic habitats including bays, sphagnum bogs, ponds, lakes, ditches, and saw grass prairies.In South Carolina, they live in heavily vegetated wetlands that tend to dry up periodically, which makes it home to an abundance of amphibians. They are seldom observed due to their secretive nature and if restrained, will seldom bite.

34. Brown Snake

Brown snakes are small brown snakes that can be reddish, yellow, or gray/brown in color.They grow up to 13 inches and have two rows of dark spots on the back with a dark streak that runs down the side of the head. They have a white to light brown belly with black dots on each side.They inhabit the wet areas of cypress swamps and wetland margins in the Coastal Plain and are found in residential areas. They hide under logs and leaf litter feeding mostly on slugs and earthworms.

35. Red-bellied Snake

Red-bellied snakes are small snakes that grow to around 10 inches.These woodland snakes come in a variety of colors with some being orange to brown, others black, and some gray. Some are gray with an orange or brown stripe down their backs.They have a bright orange to red underside, which helps you distinguish them from other small woodland snakes in the area.They can be observed in a host of woodland habitats in the Coastal Plain, where there are small wetlands. They can also be seen in open habitats, which include mountains and fields.These secretive snakes are usually encountered when lifting a log or rock. They curl their lips in bizarre behavior when threatened, but very seldom bite.

36. Florida Brown Snake

Florida brown snakes are small gray to brown snakes with a light band across the neck and dark on the lip scales.They grow to 13 inches and have tiny dots on either side of the belly.They enjoy a variety of habitats where it is moist with plenty of ground covers, such as swamps, wetland margins, hardwood hammocks, and suburban yards.

37. Southeastern Crowned Snake

These snakes are small and slender and grow up to 9.6 inches.The adult is brown to tan in color with a black chin and head and a black band on the neck. Their belly is yellow, white, or pink with smooth scales.They are rarely observed outside the Coastal Plain where they live in a variety of habitats where they can hide under debris, rocks, logs, and leaf litter.

38. Central Florida Crowned Snake

Central Florida crowned snakes are small snakes growing up to 9 inches.They are slender in light brown or tan with a black head, black of the neck, and chin. They have a light spot which can be seen on both sides of the neck and a white to yellow belly.They prefer well-drained sandhills and are often found in longleaf pine and turkey oak scrub habitats.They spend most of their time underground and are seldom observed.If you are specifically looking for one, you can turn over rocks, logs, and debris, as they may be hiding underneath.

39. Eastern Ribbon Snake

Eastern ribbon snakes are slender snakes that have three yellow stripes, one down the center of the body and two down the sides with a dark background.They can grow up to 35 inches and have no patterns on their lip scales, which helps you differentiate them against the closely related eastern garter snake.They are observed in the Coastal Plain and have progressed to the mountainous areas and the coast.They are semi-aquatic and often seen on the edge of salt marshes, lakes, and bogs.

40. Eastern Garter Snake

Eastern garter snakes grow up to 26 inches with three yellow stripes that run down their body. Some have a gray to red body with a checkered pattern and light stripes.They have a light yellow to white belly and are very similar in appearance to the eastern ribbon snake.These snakes live in a variety of habitats from marshes and hillsides to meadows and woodlands where they prefer moist areas.They are often found near water and in suburban areas, where they hide under logs, rocks, debris, and boards.

41. Rough Earth Snake

The rough earth snake is a slender brown to gray snake with a pointed snout that grows to around 10 inches.Young are darker than the adults and have a light band on their neck, which fades as they age. They have tan to white bellies.They prefer forested habitats where there is ample ground cover, where they prefer to live underground, and are often encountered when lifting a log or debris.

Colubridae – Advanced Snakes

This is a small, un-patterned, brown snake with a narrow head, small black eyes, smooth shiny scales, and a pointed tail. The ventral surface of this snake usually has a pinkish hue that extends up the sides on 1 – 2 rows of dorsal scales and can be seen when viewing this snake from above. The dorsal coloration can range from tan to dark brown and can often have an iridescent shimmer.SC Distribution:The scarlet snake is a small slender snake that is vibrantly colored. They have large red spots boarded by black that extend from one side of the snake to the other and separated by white or yellowish ground coloration. From above, the snake looks as if it has a series of red, black and yellow bands extending down the body. The top of the head is red and the underside is solid white in coloration.SC Distribution:A long slender snake that can reach adult sizes up to 60 inches (152cm). They are solid black above, have smooth scales and large eyes. The underside is generally dark grey to black. Some white may show on the underside of the head. Juveniles are grayish in color with brown to reddish blotches on the back.SC Distribution:A long slender brown snake that has a dark brown head that fades to light brown or tan coloration further down the body continuing to the tail. This is one of the longest snakes in the Southeastern United States with adults reaching up over 72 inches (244cm) in length. The dark edging to the smooth tan scales makes the snake resemble a braided whip which gives the snake its name. Juveniles are typically tan on their whole body and may have irregular dark bands on the head and neck.SC Distribution:This small snake is dark gray to black above and yellow to orange on the belly. There is often a dark spot at the center of each ventral scale. The head of this snake is black with pale yellow lip scales (labials) and there is a namesake yellow ring on the collar. Rarely will this snake exceed 10-15 inches (25 – 38cm) in length.SC Distribution:The Mud Snake is a long, fairly heavy-bodied snake that is mostly glossy black in coloration with a red checkerboard pattern on the belly that extends up to the sides. In some populations this belly coloration can be pink or white. The length of this snake can reach up to 80 inches (207cm). The scales are smooth and they have a hard, sharp spine at the end of their tail. Juveniles are similar to adults, but with more of the belly pattern extending up on the sides of the body.SC Distribution:Owning up to its name, the Rainbow Snake is one of the most colorful and beautiful snakes in the Southeastern United States. This snake can be quite large with lengths up to 66 inches (168cm). Dorsally this snake has three red lines running down a dark stout body. The sides of the snake are usually yellow and the scales are smooth giving the snake has a glossy appearance. The underside is pink to reddish and The eyes of the snake are small and dark, and the tip of the tail is pointed.SC Distribution:A small slender brown snake with keeled scales and a light brown to whitish belly. The head is generally darker brown than the body and some individuals, especially juveniles, may have a pale, light brown band on the neck. The adults average in size from 7-10 inches (18-25cm).SC Distribution:As their name implies, “Hognose” snakes are identifiable by their stout bodies and upturned snout. The Eastern Hognose Snake can be incredibly variable in appearance across its range. Many individuals are tan to brown with dark blotches across back. Some individuals may have reddish or orange highlights incorporated in the pattern. There are also pattern-less individuals that will be entirely black or grey in color. The underside of the tail lighter than the belly.SC Distribution:Like other hognose snakes, this snake has a stout body, keeled scales and an upturned snout. They can reach up to two feet in length and are generally gray, light brown, or reddish in color with darker blotches going down the back and sides. The underside is pale to grayish and the underside of the tail is the same color as the belly (unlike the Eastern Hognose Snake– see similar species).SC Distribution:Also known as a Mole Kingsnake, this medium sized snake (30 – 50 inches) has a light brown or orange body with a row of reddish-brown spots on the spine going down the length of the body. The scales are smooth and the underside is pale to yellow with dark mottling. Juveniles have a bit more distinct patterning compared to adults, and some older individuals may have little contrast in their patterning.SC Distribution:This is one of the most colorful and vibrant snakes in the Southeastern United States. Their body is a collection of red, black, and yellow/whitish bands. The red bands are almost always surrounded by the black bands and the front of the snakes head is red. These colored bands extend around the whole snake, both dorsum and belly. Adults average in size between 15-20 inches.SC Distribution:The Eastern Kingsnake is a long black snake with smooth scales and yellow/whitish chain-link markings extending down the back and connecting on the sides. Adults can reach lengths of up to five feet. The belly is dark with like the dorsum with pale blotches. Juveniles resemble adults in appearance.SC Distribution:This medium sized snake is quite variable across its range, but it is generally tan in color with darker brown or reddish blotches with black edges going down the body. There is usually a pale triangular patch at the base of the snakes heads head and the snakes belly is pale with black blotches. Juveniles resemble adults, but usually have redder patterning on the back.SC Distribution:This fairly small aquatic snake reaches an average adult size of 10-15 inches (25-38cm). It has shiny black smooth scales above, dark eyes, and a deep red coloration on the belly. The belly scales have some black on the edges.SC Distribution:Also known as the Glossy Crayfish Snake, this is a medium sized shiny snake with a plain-brown to olive-brown dorsal coloration with faint dark stripes going down the length of the body. The dorsal scales are keeled and the snake has a rough, stiff appearance. The belly scales are pale with two rows of distinct black half moon patterns. This snake averages a size of 14 – 24 inches (36 – 61cm).SC Distribution:A fairly large bodied snake achieving an average adult length between 30 – 48 inches (76 – 122 cm). Adults are plain brown above with keeled scales and a contrasting reddish or yellowish belly coloration. The belly is unmarked.SC Distribution:Often referred to as the Banded Water Snake, this snake is recognized by unbroken brown to reddish cross bands extending down the length of their dark brown body. They have dark markings on the edges of their upper lip (labial) scales and have a dark stripe extending from the back of the eye to the base of the jaw. The belly of this snake is pale with square or triangular reddish blotches on the edges. This is a fairly thick bodied snake with keeled scales. The average adult length is 22 – 40 inches (61- 107 cm).SC Distribution:Adults are large, heavy bodied snakes and have a uniformly greenish brown dorsum with a pale whitish unmarked belly. This is the largest species of Water Snake in North America and can reach 30 – 55 inches (76 – 140 cm) in length. Females are generally larger than males. Juveniles have a distinct crossbar pattern on their dorsum. All individuals have keeled dorsal scales and subocular scales separating the eye from the upper lip (labial) scales.SC Distribution:Adult Northern Watersnakes have keeled scales and are generally tan to dark brown in coloration with deeper brown or reddish square blotches on the back and sides. These blotches appear as full bands towards the front of the body, and become more distinctly separate and alternate towards the back of the body. The belly is pale to pinkish with two or more irregular half moons on each ventral scale. Adults average in size from 24-55 inches (61-140cm) and juveniles are more vibrantly patterned than adults.SC Distribution:This large snake (30-60 in, 76-152 cm) has keeled scales and is dark brown in coloration. It has alternating dark blotches on the back and sides. The belly is lighter with some mottling. They have narrow heads and eyes are positioned further forward on the head than other snakes.SC Distribution:A medium sized (24 – 35 inches), very slender snake that is green on the dorsum with a yellow to whitish belly. They possess large eyes and keeled scales. Juveniles closely resemble adults in appearance.SC Distribution:This medium to large snake (20-48 in, 76-122 cm) almost always has some hints of reddish or orange in its pattern. Their body color can be orange, brown or gray, and they have a series of orange, reddish or brown square blotches outlined in black going down their back. The sides have alternating smaller blotches. The top of the head has a spear shaped blotch with the tip of the point meeting between, or just behind the eyes. The belly is pale to white in color with dark marking resembling a nearly-checkered pattern.SC Distribution:The Eastern Ratsnake has one of the most drastic variation in color and pattern across its geographic range of any snake. Adult individuals found in the north and west tend to have an all black dorsum, while coastal and southern populations are green or yellow in coloration with four black stripes extending down the entire body. In between these two populations individuals express an integrate between the two morphs. The juveniles generally are light gray in color with dark blotches going down the back.SC Distribution:This large stout snake is white, light gray, or tan in coloration with a series or dark blotches extending down most of the body. These blotches are typically darker near the head, and fainter on the tail end. The adult size of this snake is generally between 50 – 60 inches (127 – 152 cm), but can be up to 90 inches long (228 cm) They have a relatively small head with four prefrontal scales (scales on the top of the head in front of the eyes and behind internasal scales).SC Distribution:A medium sized aquatic snake, brownish to olive green in coloration, with a yellow stripe situated on the either side of the lower body, and three faint narrow dark stripes running down the back. The snake is ridged in appearance with keeled scales. The belly is pale yellowish with four brown stripes extending down the length of the body. Two thinner stripes in the center of the belly, and two bolder stripes towards the outside of the ventral scales.SC Distribution:This is a small slender snake has scales that are smooth and the dorsal coloration varies from a golden brown to a light reddish brown, while the ventral scales are a paler brown. The top of the head is a darker than the body and a key identifier of this snake is the dark strip on the face passing through the eye. This snake is also known as the “Yellow-lipped snake”, named after the pale to yellowish lip (labial) scales– though there is significant variation in this trait across its range.SC Distribution:This small gray, tan, or brown snake is usually under 20 inches (51 cm) in length when full grown. The top of the head is darker than the ground color of the body and dark streaks on either side of the head. Most individuals have two rows of dark spots going down the length of the body. The belly is pale with some dark speckling.SC Distribution:This small woodland snake has an average length of under 10 inches (25 cm). Its dorsal coloration and pattern can be rather variable with colors ranging light brown to dark gray. The head is often darker in color than the body and many individuals have a faint light brown ring, or light brown spots, just behind the head. Some individuals are plain, while others may have faint lines or blotches extending down the length of the body. The key identifying feature of this snake is the unmarked orange to red belly.SC Distribution:The Southeastern Crowned Snake is a small slender snake that usually measures under a foot in length. They have a uniformly tan or light brown body with a darker brown head and neck. Just behind the head there is a pale ring that separates the dark color on the head from the neck. The belly is yellow to white and patterned.SC Distribution:A small to medium sized slender snake with keeled scales and three bright stripes extending down the length of the dark brown to black dorsum. The two lateral stripes of this snake are confined to rows three and four of the dorsal scales. On the head, the Eastern Ribbon Snake has pale un-patterned lips and a white or yellowish spot just in front of the eyes. The typical adult size is between 18 – 26 inches (46 – 66 cm) and females are generally larger than males.SC Distribution:A medium sized snake that is extremely variable in appearance. It typically has three pale yellowish stripes extending down the length of the dorsum. However, these stripes can be conspicuous to nonexistent in some individuals, and can range in color from yellow to brown to blueish green. The Dorsal ground color is dark, but can also range in color from black to olive green. The dorsum may have a series of dark spots and in some variations these spots may be more prominent than the dorsal stripes.SC Distribution:This small and slender brown or grayish snake has smooth scales, an unmarked light brown to pale belly, and a small head. Many individuals may have light black flecks on the back and sides. Adults average in size from 7-10 inches (18-25cm).SC Distribution: