Florida Snakes Visual Identification

Different species of snake can often be distinguished by their characteristic color patterns. Some are single uniform colors. Others have dark or light markings organized into stripes, spots, blotches or some other pattern. Here is a quick look at most of Florida's snakes by pattern:

 

Crossbands

Rings

Stripes

 

Uniform

Blotches

Diamonds

 
 

Crossbands are bands of color extending across the back and down the sides, but do not cross the belly. The belly frequently is a lighter contrasting color.

 

Scarlet Snake
(Cemophora cocinnea)

Timber Rattlesnake
(Crotalus horridus)
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Cottonmouth
(Agkistrodon piscivorus)

Copperhead
(Agkistrodon contortrix)
 

Eastern Kingsnake
(Lampropeltis getula getula)

Florida Kingsnake
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Southern Water Snake
(Nerodia fasciata)

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Midland Water Snake
(Nerodia sipedon pleuralis)
 

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Rings are bands of color that extend across the back, down the sides and across the belly to completely encircle the body. Also, because they are similar, we have a simple guide to compare the Eastern Coral Snake, Scarlet Kingsnake, and Scarlet Snake.

 

Scarlet Kingsnake
(Lampropeltis elapsoides)

Eastern Coral Snake
(Micrurus fulvius)

Scarlet Snake
(Cemophora cocinnea)
 

Stripes are narrow lines of color that run lengthwise down the snake's body. They may be only one scale wide or may be several scales wide.

 

Rainbow Snake
(Farancia erytrogramma)

Rat Snake
(Pantherophis alleghaniensis)

Striped Crayfish Snake
(Regina alleni)

Queen Snake
(Regina septemvittata)
 

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(Nerodia clarkii)

Glossy Crayfish Snake
(Regina rigida)

Eastern Ribbon Snake
(Thamnophis sauritus)
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Common Garter Snake
(Thamnophis sirtalis)
 

Uniform colors are solid colors, black, brown, tan, orange, yellow, gray, blue or green, without any markings. On some species the color may be darker on the head and neck and become lighter on the back part of the body. Some may appear uniform in color in some light and at some angles. We've included snakes here that often appear uniform in color initially.

 

Eastern Indigo Snake
(Drymarchon couperi)

Eastern Racer
(Coluber constrictor)

Ringneck Snake
(Diadophis punctatus)

Mud Snake
(Farancia abacura)
 

Black Swamp Snake
(Seminatrix pygeae)

Eastern Smooth Earth Snake
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Brahminy Blind Snake
(Indotyphlops braminus)

Eastern Coachwhip
(Masticophis flagellum flagellum)
 

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(Tantilla oolitica)

Southeastern Crowned Snake
(Tantilla coronata)

Florida Crowned Snake
(Tantilla relicta)

Eastern Hognose Snake
(Heterodon platirhinos)
 

Cottonmouth
(Agkistrodon piscivorus)

Southern Water Snake
(Nerodia fasciata)

Midland Water Snake
(Nerodia sipedon pleuralis)

Rough Green Snake
(Opheodrys aestivus)
 

Mississippi Green Water Snake
(Nerodia cyclopion)

Florida Green Water Snake
(Nerodia floridana)

Plainbelly Water Snake
(Nerodia erythrogaster)

Pine Woods Snake
(Rhadinea flavilata)
 

Dekay's Brown Snake
(Storeria dekayi)

Florida Brown Snake
(Storeria victa)

Redbelly Snake
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(Storeria occipitomaculata)

Rough Earth Snake
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(Virginia striatula)
 

Salt Marsh Snake
(Nerodia clarkii)

Blotches are large squarish or irregular shaped markings, frequently with dark borders. Large rectangular blotches that cross the back resemble crossbands.

 
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Common Garter Snake
(Thamnophis sirtalis)

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Eastern Hognose Snake
(Heterodon platirhinos)

Southern Hognose Snake
(Heterodon simus)

Eastern Corn Snake
(Pantherophis guttatus)
 

Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake
(Sistrurus miliarius)

Pine Snake
(Pituophis melanoleucus)

Short-tailed Kingsnake
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Lampropeltis extenuata

Eastern Racer, juvenile
Coluber constrictor
 

Mole Kingsnake
(Lampropeltis calligaster)

Gray Rat Snake
(Pantherophis spiloides)

Rat Snake
(Pantherophis alleghaniensis)

Brown Water Snake
(Nerodia taxispilota)
 

Diamonds are slightly overlapping diamond-shaped blotches running down the middle of the back. They usually have dark borders or dark and light borders.

 

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
(Crotalus adamanteus)