Arkansas Garden Snakes: Identifying the Most Common Snakes in Your Garden

Also known as the Natural State, Arkansas has 52 state parks, 5 national parks and 3 national forests. Known for its wildlife, these parks and forests still feature wilderness.

Rodents and small mammals can be found anywhere there is a garden, park or forest. Those small animals bring predators like snakes. Most of these slippery little reptiles that invade your garden are not dangerous, but knowing how to identify a few of them is very important.

Arkansas’ Most Common Venomous Snake: Northern Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon pysivoras)

Cottonmouth is a venomous snake.

©Marcum Havens/

The most common venomous snake in Arkansas is the northern grouper, also known as the water moccasin. This copperhead is the largest species in the world. Agkistrodon genus and one of the most common venomous snakes in the southeastern United States. These snakes are typically 3 to 6 feet long and have stout bodies typical of copperheads.

Cottonmouths often have a dark stripe that starts just behind the eye and continues to the chin, though this is not always present. often The basic coloration of these snakes varies, being tan, brown, or reddish-brown, with darker cross bands that look like chocolate kisses with jagged edges from the sides. However, as they age, the pattern fades, and the snake’s color becomes more or less uniform, with few hints of pattern near the belly.

Cottonmouth snakes are also known as water moccasins, swamp moccasins, Texas moccasins, gaypers, and about 20 other common names. These snakes prefer wetlands, marshes and rivers that are teeming with fish, frogs and toads. They are semi-aquatic and are most at home in water.

These snakes get a bad name not because they are aggressive, but because they are more likely to stand their ground than rattlesnakes. It takes They rely heavily on camouflage and really hope you don’t see them. It has a mouth as white as cotton.

east copperhead (Agkistrodon Contortrix)

east copperhead
Copperheads are venomous snakes native to Arkansas.

© Jeff W. Jarrett/

The Eastern Copperhead is the second most common venomous snake in Arkansas.They are Agkistrodon A genus with cottonmouths, copperhead snakes are not semi-aquatic.

Copperheads are smaller than cottonmouths, averaging only 2 to 3 feet long, and maintain a striped or chocolate-kissed pattern throughout their lives.

Like other vipers, it has a thick body with a thin neck and a large head. The copperhead’s eyes have vertical pupils and extra scales that give the viper its distinctive grumpy look. Their patterns are a series of cross-bands or hourglass shapes over a light base color, mimicking the shapes of fallen leaves that hide.

Other Venomous Snakes of Arkansas

Cottonmouths and copperheads aren’t the only venomous snakes in Arkansas, but they’re the most common.

Most Common Nonvenomous Arkansas Snake: Western Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoletus)

young western rat snake
Western rat snakes come in many colors, but they darken with age and lose some of their pattern.

© Joe Farrar/

Now that we’ve identified venomous snakes, let’s take a look at the non-venomous snakes you might encounter. The most common snake in Arkansas is the porbeagle, which is also nonvenomous. This is because they are not shy and you are more likely to find rat snakes in ridiculous places.

All kinds of rat snakes are common in the eastern half of the United States. They were seasoned climbers, and if you’ve seen pictures of snakes in strange places, chances are good it was a rat snake. and glide through the trees looking for their favorite food: rats and rats. These snakes amaze many unsuspecting people.

Young western rat snakes have a light base coloration and a dark shield-shaped spot on the back. Some localities maintain that pattern throughout their lives, but most rat snakes turn almost black as they age. Even the darkest rat snakes have lots of white on their chin and neck. It also has a vertical stripe that extends up from the lower jaw, called the lip bar. These diurnal snakes have round pupils and a long head attached to a long, thin body. It is usually 3 to 6 feet long, but the record length was 8 feet 5 inches. Western rat snakes are not as fast as racers, but they can move quickly.

ringneck snake (diadofis dot)

Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus)
Ring-necked snakes are small, only about 18 inches long as adults.

©Tucker Heptinstall/

Although ring-necked snakes are technically a venomous species, they lack actual venom glands, are specific to their prey, and are completely harmless to humans. hold. After this, they move their mouths around their prey, allowing small fangs at the back of their mouths to pierce the skin. Unless you’re poking underneath, you’ll never see it.

Ring-necked snakes are small, only about 18 inches long as adults. These snakes rarely attempt a defensive bite. Instead, they curl their tails and show off their brightly colored bellies. This species is plain olive, bluish-grey, smoky black, or brown, usually broken by a single neckband that matches the lighter belly color.

This subspecies and all other subspecies prefer moist soils and most share communal burrows. They are usually found in flatland forests and avoid man-made structures, but have not gone beyond using rubble piles and garden edges.

speckled kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki)

The spotted kingsnake has a glossy black body with whitish-yellow dots on its scales.
The spotted kingsnake has a glossy black body with whitish-yellow dots on its scales.

© Joe Farrar/

Kingsnakes are common in most of North America. They will prey on anything they can fit in their mouths, and their diet also includes other snakes. Spotted kingsnakes prefer wet habitats to other kingsnakes, making them more likely to encounter this snake in watery swamps. set foot inland in search of

A mottled kingsnake is more docile than some racers in the same area. When they feel threatened, these snakes bite with musk musk musk musk musk musk. However, once captured, it only attacks a few times and calms down quickly. Like other kingsnakes and ratsnakes, spotted kingsnakes rattle their tails in leaves like rattlesnakes. This is behavior that many believe is a form of mimicry. However, colbrids around the world exhibit this behavior, so it seems unlikely.

These snakes are not huge and usually reach only about 4 feet. Their common name derives from their striking color, black with yellowish-white spots. Some call it the Salt and Pepper Snake. Spotted kingsnakes are diurnal hunters, spending their days cruising through undergrowth in search of food. If you see one, don’t worry, it won’t hurt you. Remember that it helps keep rodents in check.

Other Nonvenomous Snakes of Arkansas

Arkansas may not have the most species of snakes, but it still has quite a few snakes. Now that we’ve covered the most common snakes, here are a few more.

‘Monster’ snake found five times larger than anaconda

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