Friday, April 14, 2017

Snake Identification Challenge of the Week: A Bunch of Tail-shakers.

Can you please identify? (From Texas) I can't tell between a rat and rattler. It looked and sounded like a rattle on his tail. 

Janeil M.

Found on porch in South Carolina.   Man bit and very ill after attempting to shoot it.

Chris M.
South Carolina

This i think is a timber rattler. It has its back end off. Looks like it was cut by lawn mower but it didnt happen in my moms yard. It was 50 to 100 feet from street, in grass under big pine tree upside down...


I was hiking this weekend and came across this snake. I can't decide if I think it a western or a pacific ad people I've shown the pic say.

Matt S.

Mr. Steen, 

I ran across your blog after finding a rattlesnake this morning. I've been curious about the type of rattler it is. Don't worry, although I'm sure it was dead I was still not going to risk getting very close. Took the pictures out of the window of my truck. 

This is in Anderson county in eastern Kansas. It may be hard to judge the size, but I'd estimate he's about 2 feet long. He's got 6 rattles, so obviously not a baby, but I don't know how big they get after 6 sheddings. 

The second snake I photographed last fall, also in Anderson county, about 10 miles from the one I saw today. It was alive and not near any homes so I just took his picture and let him go about his business. He's about the same size.

The rattlesnake that is usually found around here is the timber rattlesnake. But being so small after 6 sheddings I'm thinking Massasauga. 

Can you tell from the photos what type of snake it is? 

Thank you, 
Tom M.

I think this is a rattlesnake but would really like to know for sure for future reference.  I live in Placerville, California.  Found him under a crate next to the garage.  He seems young, and I couldn’t see any actual “rattles” but he shook his tail at me (you can see in the photo) and kept lunging at the pole we used to put him in the bucket. He’s about a foot and a half to 2 feet long.

Janet B.

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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