A beneficial snake found throughout most of
Florida, the Eastern Garter snakes range extends from
Texas to Canada, it is absent from several Florida Gulf
coast counties & the Keys. Average adult size is from 20
to 30 inches, the record is just over four feet.
Garter snakes are famous for aggregating behavior
where a mass of male and females gather together in
the fall to hibernate for the winter and mating the
Garter snakes vary somewhat in their coloration,
generally it is three light stripes on a dark
background, the strips may be yellowish, bluish or
brown. Between the center stripe and the two side
stripes are alternating black spots in a
Habit and Habitat - The Eastern Garter snake can
be found in backyards, bottomland forest, stream
and pond banks and in open fields,. They are
most active during the day but do come out at
night, especially after a heavy rain when the
earthworms and amphibians that make up their
diet are active.
The Eastern Ribbon snake is a very close
relative to the Eastern Garter snake and is very similar
in appearance. Ribbon snakes are a slimmer bodied snake,
18-26 inches long, has a definite white spot just at the
front of its eye socket and has white "lips", whereas
the Garter snake has no white eye spot and has black
Ribbon snakes have three light colored to yellow lateral
stripes, one on the back and one on each side set
against a dark background. Between each side stripe and
the light yellow belly there is a brown lateral stripe.
Habit and Habitat - The Eastern Ribbon snake is one of
four sub-species of Ribbon snake in the United States,
three are found in Florida. This semi-aquatic native
snake can be found in and around lakes, bogs and marshes
where it preys on small fish and amphibians.
Southern Black Racer - Coluber constrictor priapus
A very common snake is the Black Racer, it
is found throughout Florida. These harmless snakes are
frequent backyard visitors in most urban areas. A very
nervous disposition means this snake will flee if
approached by humans but will try to bite if cornered,
the teeth are very small but can cut.
Adults range in size from 20 inches to just under 5 feet, the record is
72 inches. One of three sub-species of Black Racer this snake has a solid black back with smooth scales,
white chin and reddish to orange-brown irises. Juvenile is grey with reddish brown splotches
blending into a solid reddish tail.
Habit and Habitat - Found throughout Florida and the Florida Keys, this
snake can be seen in Pineland, Dry Prairie, Sandhill, Scrub and Cypress strands and domes, Hardwood and
Sabal Palm Hammocks. Black Racers are good climbers and swimmers and move fast on land. Diet consists of
frogs, lizards, small snakes, rodents, bird eggs.
Florida Rough Green Snake - Opheodrys aestivus aestivus
This is the only native slender bodied, bright green snake in Florida. Bright green on
the dorsal side and creamy white to pale yellow underneath, belly color extends to the lower jaw
and upper lip.
Adult length is 22-32 inches. this snake is arboreal and spends most of
the time in shrubs and trees foraging for the insects that make
up its diet, Florida Rough Green snakes tend to freeze when
approached , this makes them difficult to distinguish among the
Found in Hardwood and Bottomland forests, Coastal Scrub,
Maritime forest and Hammocks on the east coast.
Yellow Rat Snake - Pantherophis alleghaniensis
Adult Yellow Rat Snakes average between 36 and 72 inches long, the record is 90
inches. Juveniles are gray with a pattern of dark brownish blotches.
Color is variable in adults from gray to yellow-orange, with four
darker lateral stripes on the back and sides, adults may retain some of
the darker blotchiness of the juvenile.
The Yellow Rat Snake can be found in a variety of habitats, including Pinelands, Mangrove and Cypress swamps, Prairies, Bottomland forests and Hammocks. This snake is mainly nocturnal and is a burrower as well as a good climber. Diet consists largely of rodents supplemented with
small birds, bird eggs, lizards, frogs and toads.
Eastern Corn Snake, Red Rat Snake - Pantherophis guttatus
The Eastern corn snake is found throughout Florida, average adult is 20-40 inches long, record is 72 inches. Adults are a orange-brown color with blotches of brownish orange to red with black borders. Juveniles are similar in appearance to adults.
The Eastern Corn Snake is also called the Red Rat Snake and like its cousin the Yellow Rat Snake it is both a burrower and a good climber.
Primarily nocturnal in habit, the Red Rat Snake feeds on rodents, amphibians, birds and eggs. This
snake can be found in Pinelands, Hammocks, Swamps, farm lands and urban areas.
Florida Banded Water Snake - Nerodia fasciata pictiventris
One of four species of Water snake in Florida, the Florida Banded Water snake is a
thick bodied snake with an adult size of 24-42 inches.
Body has broad black, brown or reddish crossbands separated by
lighter bands of tan, grey or reddish brown, there is a dark
stripe extending from the eye to the corner of the jaw. Although
this snake is not venomous it is capable of delivering a nasty bite,
and it will bite aggressively when cornered, it also exudes a foul
smelling musk when agitated.
The Florida Banded Water Snake is found throughout the peninsula
except for the Keys. This common snake can be found in all fresh
water bodies of water, swamps and marshes. Mainly a nocturnal snake,
diet includes fish, frogs and other freshwater amphibians and crustaceans.