Did You Know?
There are as many as 47 different species of snakes found in Oklahoma, out of which 7 are potentially dangerous to humans.
Though Oklahoma has a staggering number of snake species, not all of them are poisonous. All venomous species found in Oklahoma come from the viper family, meaning that these snakes have pits on either side of their head between their eyes and nostrils. These pits acts as heat sensors that help them to find the presence of a warm-blooded prey in the dark.
There are many ways to identify venomous snakes from non venomous ones. Venomous snakes can be classified into rattlesnake, copperhead and cottonmouth. They can be distinguished from their physical features, more precisely from their colors and patterns on the skin.
Rattlesnakes, which comprise a majority of venomous snakes of Oklahoma, are endowed with rattlers on their tail. They are known to vigorously vibrate their rattlers as a threat display or warning to passer-byes.
Copperhead snakes usually have brown, peachy or tan mottled coloration that help them to blend in with the surroundings. Cottonmouth snake can be a little tricky to identify from its nonvenomous counterparts because of its dark coloration and relatively inconspicuous pattern.
However, the most definitive feature that separates a cottonmouth from others is the presence of a black mark that runs from its eyes to the corner of its mouth.
The cottonmouth is typically known for opening its jaws wide open and revealing its white flesh (from which it derives its name). While the non venomous snakes found in Oklahoma are innocuous, they are still known to attack or bite, if provoked.
List of Nonvenomous Snakes in Oklahoma
- Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoletus)
- Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayi)
- Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum)
- Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
- Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
- Northern Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus)
- Racer (Coluber constrictor)
- Diamond-backed Watersnake (Nerodia rhombifer rhombifer)
- Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
- Broad-banded Watersnake (Nerodia fasciata confluens)
- Brownsnake (Storeria dekayi texana)
- Checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus)
- Flat-headed Snake (Tantilla gracilis)
- Lined Snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum)
- Groundsnake (Sonora semiannulata)
- Graham's Crayfish Snake (Regina grahami)
- Great Plains Ratsnake (Elaphe emoryi)
- Kansas Glossy (Arizona elegans elegans)
- Marcy's Checkered Gartersnake (Thamnophis marcianus marcianus)
- Plain-bellied Watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster)
- Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon)
- Northern Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata)
- New Mexico Threadsnake (Leptotyphlops dissectus)
- Northern Scarletsnake (Cemophora coccinea copei)
- Orange-striped Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis proximus proximus)
- Rough Earthsnake (Virginia striatula)
- Prairie Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster)
- Plains Black-headed Snake (Tantilla nigriceps)
- Plains Gartersnake (Thamnophis radix)
- Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)
- Speckled Kingsnake(Lampropeltis getula holbrooki)
- Western Black-necked Gartersnake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis)
- Texas Nightsnake (Hypsiglena torquata jani)
- Texas Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei tessellatus)
- Texas blind snake (Leptotyphlops dulcis)
- Western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans)
- Western Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae elegans)
- Western Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon nasicus)
- Western Mudsnake (Farancia abacura reinwardtii)
- Western Wormsnake (Carphophis vermis)
List of Venomous Snakes in Oklahoma
- Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
- Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
- Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
- Western Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius streckeri)
- Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous leucostoma)
- Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
- Western Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus)
Even if you can identify a non venomous, it is still important to get immediate medical treatment after a snakebite or attack. Always remember, a snake will never attack a human unless stepped on, or feels alarmed or threatened.
Hence, the wise thing is to keep away from them and not put yourself in any danger by trying to handle it. Snakes are as much afraid of us as we are of them, so the feeling is pretty mutual; don't bother them, and they will slink away indifferently.