45 Snake Species That are Found in Louisiana

45 Snake Species That are Found in Louisiana
Home to several venomous as well as non-venomous snakes, Louisiana has been a constant attraction to snake enthusiasts who visit the area to study these reptiles. AnimalSake provides a list of species of Louisiana's snakes, and a brief description of each.
AnimalSake Staff
Last Updated: Dec 9, 2017
Snake Safety Tip
If you spot a snake and aren't sure whether it is venomous or not, always keep a safe distance, approximately equal to the body length of the snake. Venomous snakes can't strike at a distance exceeding their body lengths.
Note: Never kill a snake, always contact a snake rescuer or the forest department to deal with it.

Louisiana is located in the southern end of the United States of America. It's rich in biological diversity due to its unique geographical location on the Mississippi's coast and the supporting humid subtropical climatic conditions. The U.S. government has made effective provisions to protect the biodiversity of this state by the means of national parks and forest services. A total of six national parks have been constructed in this state: Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, Cane River National Heritage Area, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Poverty Point National Monument, and Saline Bayou, a scenic river near Winn Parish in northern Louisiana. The forest service protects the state's only forest―Kisatchie National Forest―which spans a total of 600,000 acres in central and northern Louisiana.

Louisiana's snakes may fascinate some, but they do induce fear in many others. Snakes, in general, aren't aggressive, except in cases of self-defense. If you see one, don't panic or run around. Majority of these are non-venomous, and the venomous ones count to a total of just 7 species discovered till date.
Venomous Louisiana Snakes
Copperhead
Copperhead Snake
Genus: Agkistrodon
Species: Agkistrodon contortrix
Adult Length: 50-95 centimeters (2-3 ft.)

Venom Intensity: Though poisonous, these snakes are quite hesitant to deliver a bite, and their venom is weak (rarely fatal).
Physical Characteristics: Their color ranges from beige to tan, and sometimes pale gray. Their body is patterned with broad dark-brownish, crossed bands, while their heads are solid without patterns with a faint orange tint on the top and pale yellowish on the sides. Copperheads have dark brown blotches on the underside, and about 23-27 rows of keeled scales on the back.
Texas Coral Snake
Eastern Coral Snake
Genus: Micrurus
Species: Micrurus tener
Adult Length: 60-100 centimeters (2-3 ft.)

Venom Intensity: A Texas Coral snake's bite may not prove fatal, but the contained neurotoxin is responsible for causing a neuromuscular dysfunction.
Physical Characteristics: The snake possesses a series of wide red and black rings, that are lined by thin yellow rings on the whole body. The head is a mixture of two colors; the snout being black and the rear part being yellow. These snakes have 15 rows of smooth scales all over their body, and show a lot of resemblance to the Harlequin Coral snakes.
Pygmy Rattlesnake
Rattlesnake
Genus: Sistrurus
Species: Sistrurus miliarius
Adult Length: 40-60 centimeters (1.3-2 ft.)

Venom Intensity: The amount of venom produced is too little to kill a human. Their bite isn't fatal but is hemorrhagic. The venom is free of neurotoxins, but contains serotonin which can be responsible for causing prolonged unpleasant feelings.
Physical Characteristics: The color could be a pale gray or tan, with 2 rows of dark black spots on either side of the back. A brick reddish hue can be seen in the center of their backs, while their head possesses bands of black in the center an on either sides. Their underside is grayish white, or light tan, and they have approximately 23 rows of keeled scales.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Diamondback Rattlesnake
Genus: Crotalus
Species: Crotalus adamanteus
Adult Length: 200-230 centimeters (6-8 ft.)
Venom Intensity: Bites from this snake can prove fatal. This rattlesnake is considered one of northern America's most dangerous venomous snake species. The venom causes high hemorrhagic and hemolytic activity, and can at times lead to cardiac failure. The symptoms include intense pain and bleeding in the bitten area, intense internal pain, weak pulse, swelling and discoloration of the affected area.

Physical Characteristics: This snake has a brown or tan coat with diamond-shaped markings all over its body. A dark band lined with light brownish stripes diagonally crosses each of its eye. It has 29 rows of dorsal scales.
Canebrake Rattlesnake
Canebrake Rattlesnake
Genus: Crotalus
Species: Crotalus horridus
Adult Length: 91-152 centimeters (7-12 ft.)
Venom Intensity: Very dangerous, long fangs, and a high venom yield. Their venom is highly neurotoxic, and can cause hemorrhaging and death in extreme cases.

Physical Characteristics: Its skin color is usually light tan or beige, with dark brown or black crossbands, and a brick-reddish strip running down all along the back. Its tail is dark gray or black, and it possesses around 21-26 rows of dorsal keeled scales on its body.
Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth Snake
Genus: Agkistrodon
Species: Agkistrodon piscivorus
Adult Length: 80-90 centimeters (2.5-3 ft.)

Venom Intensity: A cottonmouth's bite is rarely capable of causing death. The venom consists of certain tissue-destructive enzymes but is free of any neurotoxin.
Physical Characteristics: Color ranges from dark tan, to brown, or nearly black, with pale black or dark brown crossbands. The head is black, except for thin white stripes extending from the eye to the angle of the jaw. Its underside is dark with large black spots, and about 25 rows of keeled dorsal scales.
Harlequin Coral Snake
Genus: Micrurus
Species: Micrurus fulvius
Adult Length: 40-90 centimeters (1.5-3 ft.)
Venom Intensity: Fatalities in this case are very rare; death is only possible in the absence of proper medical attention. The snake is quite reluctant when it comes to attacking, and is unable to control the amount of neurotoxin it injects, resulting in a very weak bite. Timely hospitalization and antivenin can cure a victim.

Physical Characteristics: Its skin color is usually light tan or beige, with dark brown or black crossbands, and a brick reddish strip running down all along the back. Its tail is dark gray or black, and it possesses around 21-26 rows of dorsal keeled scales on its body.
We are done with the venomous ones, now for the harmless, non-venomous species. The non-venomous snakes are mostly water snakes, small garden snakes, or rat snakes. Learn more in the following section.
Non-venomous Louisiana Snakes
Gray Ratsnake
Gray Rat Snake
Genus: Pantherophis
Species: Pantherophis spiloides
Adult Length: 99-183 centimeters (3.2-6 ft.)
Category: Constricting Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The base color, as its name suggests, is gray, and sometimes tan with big dark brown or black spots on the back, and similar small spots on the sides. The underbody is usually white, sometimes with a tinge of gray or pale brown. The dorsal scales are slightly keeled and occur in 25-27 rows.
Mississippi Green Water Snake
Genus: Nerodia
Species: Nerodia cyclopion
Adult Length: 40-127 centimeters (1.3-4.1 ft.)
Category: Water Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The color being deep marshy green with a tinge of gray, these snakes love to rest in large water bodies. The body is patterned with large square-shaped marks which alternate on the upper sides, back, and the lower sides. The undersides are a dull yellow with gray-colored spots. The scales are keeled and in 23-27 rows.
Scarlet Kingsnake
Scarlet Kingsnake
Genus: Lampropeltis
Species: Lampropeltis elapsoides
Adult Length: 30-60 centimeters (1-2 ft.)
Category: Mimic Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Its body is patterned with a series of large red and white/yellow rings bordered with thinner black stripes. Rings encircle the whole body also covering the undersides. It has a red snout and 17-19 rows of smooth dorsal scales.
Ring-necked Snake
Ring Necked Snake
Genus: Diadophis
Species: Diadophis punctatus
Adult Length: 25-38 centimeters (0.8-1.2 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Smooth scaled (15 rows) snakes with a slate gray body, and a distinct yellow collar along the neck. The undersides are yellowish-orange with a central row of black dots.
Banded Water Snake
Banded Water Snake
Genus: Diadophis
Species: Diadophis punctatus
Adult Length: 25-38 centimeters (0.8-1.2 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The coloration ranges from deep brown to black, with pale tan or yellow crossbars in some varieties, whereas in some southeastern areas, the snake's color is tan to orange, with deep brown or gray crossbars. In the former variant, an orange stripe extends from the eye to the angle of the jaw. The underside, in all cases, is white and patterned with brick-red, black or brown spots. The snake has keeled dorsal scaling in 21-25 rows.
Milk Snake
Pueblan Milksnake
Genus: Lampropeltis
Species: Lampropeltis triangulum
Adult Length: 51-152 centimeters (1.6-5 ft.)
Category: Mimic Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Its body is covered with a series of red and white/yellow rings with black borders. It has smooth scales of 21 rows and a black/red snout.
Prairie Kingsnake
Prairie King Snake
Genus: Lampropeltis calligaster
Species: Lampropeltis calligaster
Adult Length: 76-102 centimeters (2.4-3.3 ft.)
Category: Constricting Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Its coloration ranges from tan, to brown, to gray; a patterned body with dark brown to reddish oblong spots going down the back, and a smaller series of similar spots along the sides. The underside is whitish with brown spots. The dorsal scaling is smooth with 21-27 rows of scales.
Red Corn Snake
Corn Snake
Genus: Pantherophis
Species: Pantherophis guttata
Adult Length: 63-165 centimeters (2-5 ft.)
Category: Constricting Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Yellow, brown, tan, or reddish brown with a series of large reddish or orange spots running down the back lined with black borders; similar smaller pattern on the sides. The top of the head has reddish bands narrowing between the eyes. The underside is white with a checkerboard pattern. The snake has 27 rows of keeled dorsal scales.
Common Water Snake
Northern Watersnake
Genus: Nerodia
Species: Nerodia sipedon
Adult Length: 40-125 centimeters (1.3-4.1 ft.)
Category: Water Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The body is gray, tan, or orange above with distinct brick red crossbars. The underside is pale white, yellow, or gray, with crescent-shaped dark spots. The dorsal scales are in 21-23 rows and are keeled.
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
Hognose Snake
Genus: Heterodon
Species: Heterodon platirhinos
Adult Length: 38-106 centimeters (1.2-3.4 ft.)
Category: Harmless Non-venomous Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The body could be simply dark brown or black in some cases, or pale gray or tan, with numerous rows of small black spots, stripes, or even a checkered pattern in some, on the anterior half. The belly is a dull gray, cream, or yellowish. These snakes have 25 rows of keeled scales.
Graham's Crayfish Snake
Genus: Regina
Species: Regina grahamii
Adult Length: 35-114 centimeters (1.1-3.7 ft.)
Category: Water Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The color could range from olive to gray above, and yellowish or grayish below. The undersides are characterized by a row of dark spots and two dark lines on both sides of the belly. The snake has keeled scales dorsally in 19 rows. It prefers marshy and swampy areas.
Speckled Kingsnake
Genus: Lampropeltis
Species: Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
Adult Length: 40-152 centimeters (1.3-5.0 ft.)
Category: Constricting Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The snake has a glossy black outer coat with tiny yellowish white speckles on each scale. The underside is cream, or yellow with black spots. It has around 21-23 rows of smooth dorsal scales.
Western Ribbon Snake
Ribbon Snake
Genus: Thamnophis
Species: Thamnophis proximus
Adult Length: 60-106 centimeters (2.0-3.4 ft.)
Category: Diurnal Snakes
Physical Characteristics: With looks similar to eastern ribbon snakes, these snakes are mostly seen in a black- or brown-colored body, and a central stripe either yellow, orange, or white colored, running all the way through their backs. There are similar but dull stripes on the sides, with a whitish underside. There are 19 rows of keeled scales, and a distinct white spot on the head, which is absent in the eastern counterparts.
Rough Green Snake
Genus: Opheodrys
Species: Opheodrys aestivus
Adult Length: 40-106 centimeters (1.3-3.4 ft.)
Category: Diurnal Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The snake is of grass-green color, with keeled 17 row scaling and a yellow colored underside.
Coachwhip
Genus: Coluber
Species: Coluber flagellum
Adult Length: 63-228 centimeters (2-7 ft.)
Category: Diurnal Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The color is usually dark brown or black, and witnesses gradation of a brick red or reddish pink towards the tail, though some varieties are entirely black or pink. The undersides are white or pink. It has 17 rows of smooth dorsal scales.
Common Garter Snake
Genus: Thamnophis
Species: Thamnophis sirtalis
Adult Length: 38-114 centimeters (1.2-3.7 ft.)
Category: Diurnal Snakes
Physical Characteristics: These snakes have very slender bodies, and are abundant in various colors including shades of green, blue, yellow, gold, red, orange, brown, and black. There is a central stripe that runs down along the back, usually white, yellow, or orange colored. A pale stripe of the respective color is present on either side. The undersides are white, dull tan, or a pale green, with a row of dark spots on either side. The scales are keeled and in 19 rows.
Racer
Genus: Coluber
Species: Coluber constrictor
Adult Length: 50-165 centimeters (1.6-5.4 ft.)
Category: Diurnal Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Racers get their name from their level of agility and speed. Their coloration is mostly shiny black with white undersides; they are gray in the southeastern regions of the state; olive to tan in the southwest, and bluish gray in the central and northern parts. The undersides, in all cases, are usually white, sometimes with a slight yellowish tinge. They possess smooth dorsal scales in 17 rows. Racers often prefer being in the open, though they are also spotted in the forests. These snakes are highly territorial, and would bite if disturbed. They aren't venomous, but their bite can be painful at times.
Brown Snake
Genus: Storeria
Species: Storeria dekayi
Adult Length: 30-40 centimeters (1-1.5 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Mostly occurring in a tan or dark brown shade, brown snakes are very common to the southern and eastern regions of the United States. They have a light brown stripe bordered with tiny spots running all along their central back. Their underside is beige, and have 17 rows of keeled dorsal scales. These snakes strike when disturbed, but are non-venomous and harmless.
Brahminy Blind Snake
Genus: Ramphotyphlops
Species: Ramphotyphlops braminus
Adult Length: 6.35-16.5 centimeters (0.2-0.5 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: This is a very tiny snake, and would resemble an earthworm. Its eyes appear as tiny spots, and the whole body is either black or dark brown, or sometimes even purple. It possesses 20 rows of smooth dorsal scales. It is a burrowing type of snake, and won't be generally spotted roaming about in the open.
Black Pine Snake
Genus: Pituophis
Species: Pituophis melanoleucus
Adult Length: 122-254 centimeters (4-8 ft.)
Category: Constricting Snakes
Physical Characteristics: It is smooth-scaled, with a harmless spine on the tip of the tail. This one too is a burrowing type of snake, and prefers to stay under loose soil, leaf litter, or beneath logs.
Rainbow Snake
Genus: Farancia
Species: Farancia erytrogramma
Adult Length: 63.5-152 centimeters (2-5 ft.)
Category: Harmless Non-venomous Snakes
Physical Characteristics: These reptiles mostly wander in the southeastern regions of Louisiana. They are referred to as rainbow snakes, due to their shiny exteriors with three red stripes running down the back, yellow colored sides, and undersides. The belly has several rows of black spots. Dorsal scaling is smooth with 19 rows.
Louisiana Pine Snake
Genus: Pituophis
Species: Pituophis ruthveni
Adult Length: 63-165 centimeters (2-5 ft.)
Category: Constricting Snakes
Physical Characteristics: One of the threatened species, occurs in a pale tan color with dark brown or black blotches along the back. Its underside is whitish with spots; a pointed snout; and 27-33 keeled dorsal scales.
Pine Woods Snake
Genus: Rhadinaea
Species: Rhadinaea flavilata
Adult Length: 25-33 centimeters (0.8-1.8 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: This is a small reddish/yellowish brown snake with an unmarked pale yellow underside. A distinct dark band is seen passing through the eye bordered by a pale line. It has 17 rows of smooth dorsal scales.
Slowinski's Corn Snake
Genus: Pantherophis
Species: Pantherophis slowinskii
Adult Length: 60-132 centimeters (2-4.3 ft.)
Category: Constricting Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The snake is gray in color with a row of dark gray/brow/orange spots running down the back; and a similar series on each side. The underside is white with a chessboard pattern. Two bands extend from the top of the head converging in between the eyes. The dorsal scales are slightly keeled with occurring in 27 rows.
Smooth Earth Snake
Genus: Virginia
Species: Virginia valeriae
Adult Length: 15-33 centimeters (0.4-1 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The body is tan, brown, or reddish brown above and pale yellow/whitish on the underside. There are tiny black dots near the head, and a faint line may be present along the back. Scales are smooth, and in 17 rows.
Diamond-backed Water Snake
Genus: Nerodia
Species: Nerodia rhombifer
Adult Length: 45-165 centimeters (1.4-5.4 ft.)
Category: Water Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The body coloration is grayish brown, or tan on the anterior, and pale yellowish to off-white below. The back is patterned with dark brown or black crossbands, whereas the underside has small dark markings. There are 25-27 rows of keeled dorsal scales.
Eastern Ribbon Snake
Genus: Thamnophis
Species: Thamnophis sauritus
Adult Length: 18-86 centimeters (0.5-3.4 ft.)
Category: Diurnal Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Also known as the common ribbon snake, these snakes are slender with either black or dark-brown colored bodies, and a central yellow stripe. There are two more such stripes on the sides; the undersides are a mix of green and white. The dorsal scales are keeled and in 19 rows.
Mud Snake
Mud Snake
Genus: Farancia
Species: Farancia abacura
Adult Length: 63-203 centimeters (2.5-6.6 ft.)
Category: Harmless Non-venomous Snakes
Physical Characteristics: These snakes prefer muddy or swampy ditches as their resting spots. They can be recognized by their shiny black bodies with a red underside featuring black crossbars. The red from the undersides also extends unevenly to the sides. The scales are smooth and count to a total of 19 rows.
Glossy Crayfish Snake
Genus: Regina
Species: Regina rigida
Adult Length: 38-76 centimeters (1.2-2.4 ft.)
Category: Water Snakes
Physical Characteristics: These snakes, as their name suggests, have a glossy coat, the colors are either dark olive, dark gray, or complete black with yellow or tan stripes running down the lowermost portion of the sides. The undersides are pale yellow, with two rows of black spots. The dorsal scales comprise 19 rows, and are keeled.
Red-bellied Snake
Red Bellied Black Snake
Genus: Storeria
Species: Storeria occipitomaculata
Adult Length: 15-35 centimeters (0.4-1.1 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Mostly deep brown or gray in the anterior with twin rows of dots or four thin lines spanning the whole body from head to tail. The belly and the undersides are red, orange, and rarely yellow or off-white. The scales are keeled and comprise 15 rows.
Salt Marsh Snake
Salt Marsh Snake
Genus: Nerodia
Species: Nerodia clarkii
Adult Length: 38-88 centimeters (1.2-2.8 ft.)
Category: Water Snakes
Physical Characteristics: This species can be seen in three colors: gray, green, or tan, and has dark bands of the respective color. There are 4 dark stripes on the neck and a dark band passing through each eye. The undersides are dark reddish brown, and have a dark spotted central row. The scales appear in 21 rows, and are keeled.
Western Rat Snake
Genus: Pantherophis
Species: Pantherophis obsoleta
Adult Length: 63-213 centimeters (2-7 ft.)
Category: Constricting Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The snake is common to southern and central parts of Louisiana. It is either tan or gray with black spots on the back and the sides. The underside is white with slight gradation to gray or pale brown towards the tail. Pale spots are present in some varieties of this snake. The scales are in 25-27 rows, and are slightly keeled.
Western Worm Snake
Worm Snake
Genus: Carphophis
Species: Carphophis vermis
Adult Length: 20-35 centimeters (0.6-1.1 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: This snake is very easy to recognize if you get a chance to see its belly. The body is completely black above, and pink or reddish orange on the undersides. It has 13 rows of smooth scales.
Yellow-bellied Water Snake
Yellow Bellied Water Snake
Genus: Nerodia
Species: Nerodia erythrogaster
Adult Length: 40-139 centimeters (1.3-4.5 ft.)
Category: Water Snakes
Physical Characteristics: Mostly seen in shades of gray or green, these snakes are not really aquatic as they prefer staying in woody areas. The back is patterned with a dark-colored blotching, and the undersides generally vary from yellow, to green, to brown, and sometimes even red. The dorsal scales are somewhere between 23-27 rows, and are keeled.
Southeastern Crowned Snake
Genus: Tantilla
Species: Tantilla coronata
Adult Length: 40-139 centimeters (1.3-4.5 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The color is a dull shade of tan. However, the head is black with a dark collar on the neck. Its undersides are somewhat pinkish, and it has a smooth 15-row dorsal scaling.
Rough Earth Snake
Genus: Virginia
Species: Virginia striatula
Adult Length: 15-30 centimeters (0.4-0.9 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: It appears in 3 colors; brown, tan, or gray; the belly is pale yellow to whitish. This snake has 17 rows of keeled scales.
Flat-headed Snake
Genus: Tantilla
Species: Tantilla gracilis
Adult Length: 12-22 centimeters (0.3-0.8 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: The color above is a dull shade of tan, while the head is a darker shade of tan; the undersides are pinkish. The dorsal scales are smooth, and count to a total of 15 rows.
Eastern Worm Snake
Genus: Carphophis
Species: Carphophis amoenus
Adult Length: 20-30 centimeters (0.6-1 ft.)
Category: Small Garden Snakes
Physical Characteristics: This type resembles a worm, considering its size. The color above is brown and the undersides are pink. The dorsal scales count to 13 rows, and are smooth. These snakes are usually found beneath logs, leaf litter, or loose soil.
The next time you're in Louisiana's forests, don't forget to say hello to these cold-blooded friends. Always remember that when you're visiting a forest or a sanctuary, you are visiting the homes of these creatures. If you respect them and keep your distance, they won't do any harm. Also, if you spot any of these or have seen them in the past, don't hesitate to leave a comment in the section below.