Saturday, July 2, 2016

Snake Identification Challenge of the Week: Clearing a Backlog For A Quintessential American Snake on The Fourth of July Weekend

Saw two of these together in Congaree National Park, May-2016. About 4-5 feet long, near the boardwalk. Could not identify em. Any info would be appreciated.

Scott F.
South Carolina

Great picture. Thought you might like it. My friend sent it to me to ID. I asked and he said it was perfectly fine for you to use in your blog. Taken in Fairhope, Alabama. 

Larry W.



I'm curious as to what kind of snake this is and wonder if you can identify it.  It was seen on a dock on the Tennessee River in Huntsville, AL.  It was at least 4 feet long.  Sorry I didn't get a good image of the head.


James W.


My daughter & I are in a disagreement identifying this snake. Could you please help? I say it's a rat snake and she says it's a Burmese Python! I've left him to temporarily set up residence on my property! She's panicking and thinks he's dangerous!

Mike N.

Hi David,

I hope you can identify this snake for me please.  I found it today in my front drive around 1pm, CDST, just basking in the sun.  I live in Birmingham, AL, surrounded by woods.  There is the presence of some very shallow runoff of water periodically, but only temporarily.  This is only the second time in 16 years I have seen a snake on my property of about an acre.  However, there are numerous lakes in the area that are home to Water Moccasins and some Cottonmouths.  I look forward to hearing from you and thank you.

Beverly N.

Mr Steen,

I ran across your postings while doing some research. A friend forwarded me this photo of a snake yesterday – and we’ve had some interesting conversations trying to agree on what it is.

In reading thru your posts, you really seem very knowledgeable on this topic, so I would like to ask for your help in identifying this one. We have had thoughts of copperhead or a timber rattler (but without the rattles – as I understand that they can lose them).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Ron S.


This snake was resting  in our garden on freshly laid pine bark mulch this morning.  We are in Adamsville, AL (central Alabama) We think it might be a king snake or rat snake but aren't sure.  What is it?

Grace S

Hello Dr. Steen,

I'm assuming that all the rain Missouri has been getting is disturbing the snake life around here, because I've seen several more on the farm in the last week, but only managed to get photos of 2. 

Bubba: (so named because I think he's HUGE.)  He was in the driveway and there is a stick in front of him which I later measured to be a bit longer than 6 inches, which indicates this snake is pretty large. This guy is pretty big around, too. Bigger around than any snake I've seen on the farm. I thought it was another black snake, but I can't find any photos of one with the same X pattern this one has, which is completely different than the silver bands of the Western Black Snake which you identified for me a coupla weeks ago. (I named her Claudette, btw.) Claudette has a friend, and I think they have a den under our front porch, but I have yet to get a photo of her friend. It has a lot of pink/peach on it's tummy, but no silver bands or the X pattern Bubba has. (Although the pink/peach colors are identical in shade to Bubba's.)   

Thanks again for your time,

Beth M.

 live in piedmont sc, Anderson County SC.  I found a baby snake that highly resembles a python.  I've had ball pythons,  Burmese pythons and boas since I was 10. I'm aware that exotic snakes are now living & breeding in the southern states. I need help identifying this snake.  It has a good temperament.  If you could lead me in finding out the breed of this snake in would greatly appreciate it. 

South Carolina

Please identify.

Kera V.

What kind of snake?

Leanna L.

Hello Professor Steen,

I have a warehouse South of the little town, Lawrence, Michigan.  The back side of the building is rarely tended so there are vines and brush that come right up to the back door. There also is a hole at the base of the door large enough for a snake to enter.  I first thought I had a swarm of bees but as I tracked the sound I found him toasty warm under this South facing window.  I don't mind him being there, I just to want to be surprised some day and get bitten.  I think he is a black rat snake but I'm not sure.  Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Phyllis M.

What Are These Snakes?

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the point of these posts.

-This is not a pop quiz, any kind of research is encouraged and I hope you will engage with other commenters to try to figure these snakes out. I will eventually chime in with my thoughts.

-Assume I know what kind of snake is in the picture. I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed. Don't hate, educate.

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