louisiana snakes

Black widows are undoubtedly the most famed poisonous spiders, and of the three types, two — southern and northern black widows — reside in Louisiana.
The two pine snakes — black pine and Louisiana pine — measure 25 to 85 inches and 25 to 65 inches, respectively.
Of the three groups of venomous spiders native to the United States, only two — widows and recluses — can be found in Louisiana.
Though not generally considered as dangerous to humans as venomous snakes, a number of large constricting snakes also are found in Louisiana.
Copperhead, cottonmouth, harlequin coral and Texas coral snakes round out the list of venomous snakes native to Louisiana.
Brown recluses are most easily distinguished from most other spiders because they have only six eyes, present in three pairs, whereas almost all non-recluse species have eight eyes in two rows of four.
Canebreaks average 25 to 70 inches in length and have beige bodies with dark brown crossbands and a reddish stripe down the back.
Eastern diamondbacks grow 25 to 90 inches long and are tan to brown with dark brown diamond shapes with pale outlines.
Although the U.S. is home to more than one dozen species of recluse spiders, only the most well known — the brown recluse — is native to Louisiana.
Then there are eight large species of constricting snakes that call Louisiana home.
Two rat snakes — gray and Western rat snakes — complete the list of dangerous constricting snakes in Louisiana.

Besides eating rats and mice, the King Snake will often kill and eat poisonous snakes like the Cottonmouth and Copperhead.
In our habitat, we try to coexist peacefully with all species of snakes that live here, even the venomous Cottonmouth and Copperhead.
In Louisiana? I am familiar with red bellied and yellow bellied water snakes and have observed, held and photographed them for years.
One of my favorite snakes of Louisiana is the Speckled King Snake.
Great photos! Snakes are the coolest animals ever! The only thing that i would like to point out if you dont mind, is that the largest photo that you have of the Ringneck Snake is actually a Brown Snake.
The young of many species of snakes do not look like the adult snake.
I live around these snakes and the middle pic that says baby cottonmouth it’s NOT a cottonmouth it is a COPPERHEAD, you can see the major difference in the two snakes.
My husband and I have collaborated to write and illustrate articles about most of the species of snakes that live in our habitat as well as other reptiles and amphibians.
Yellow-bellied water snakes are creamy yellow on the throat and all the way down the belly to their tails.
Your saying is a version I have not heard, but is correct – red on yellow is the venomous coral snake, red on black is the non-venomous king snake.

Excellent lens (5*) I snakes, but we don’t have many in the UK: just the grass snake; smooth snake and the adder, which is rather small and is the only poisonous one.
Fabulous lens! I am fascinated by snakes, and recently had the privilege of holding a couple: a gopher snake (from here in California) and a king snake from another part of the country.
Another great lens! Don’t forget to add it to a Plexo on A Walk in the Woods but please ask the snakes to stay out off my path.
Snakes are cool! I had a really great teacher in elementary school who kept his very large gopher snake, Gumby, in the classroom, where we all grew accustomed to caring for him.
Hi NatureGirl7: Wonderful Snakes of Louisiana lens.
Really cool lens on the "Snakes of Louisiana"! I think it’s very interesting and well-designed.
Nice feature here in your lens, Snakes of Louisiana.
Oh what a totally wonderful lens! I love snakes.No one in my family understands my fascination with them and choose to call it madness.
Totally enjoyed this lens! I love black racer snakes, thank you.
Wonderful Lens! I am super afraid of snakes but, I do find them fascinating.
What a great lens on snakes and so beautifully written.
Do not see too many snakes where I live in Louisiana, but it is not impossible! Great info to help recognize which ones are dangerous and which are not.
We only have two snakes in the UK and never see them! My only chance to see any is at the zoo…or on your lens.

I grabbed a shovel, and tried to "get" him,, but the shovel did not penetrate his tough body,, so I called my bro,, and I had the cable man here,,, I asked the cable man if he would "catch it for me",, and he laughed, went outside,, and came back in like "Rambo" with a shovel and machete,, then my bro showed up,, and it was show time.

Welcome to Snakes of Louisiana Online.  Please let this serve as a general guide to the snakes of this state.  The "State Checklist" page will serve as a main page with various links to the species’ pages.  The page for most species have thumbnailed photos on them with links to larger photos.  Just use your back arrow on your browser to get back to the species’ pages.

If you have any questions, or need any more information on all 54 venomous and nonvenomous species of snakes in Louisiana, head on over to the official website of the Louisiana Department Of Wildlife & Fisheries.
Of the 54 species that inhabit Louisiana, only seven snakes are venomous and our friends over at Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries say that the best way to stay safe is to be able to identify them, and understand their .
While browsing the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries website, I realized they literally had everything you would possibly need to know about the snakes of Louisiana, so I decided to take some of that information* and share it with anyone else who may be deathly afraid of these animals they don’t really know much about.
Coral snakes are only found in a small eastern part of Louisiana that borders Mississippi.
Copperhead snakes usually measure 14-45 inches with broad, darker brown, hourglass-shaped cross bands that are slightly paler on the lower sides with a whitish underside.
Cottonmouth snakes are usually dark brown or nearly black in color, with subtle cross bands of the same color.
One of the more noticeable venomous snakes of Louisiana, the Copperhead is beige, tan or pale gray, often with a dull pink or orange tint above.

Most of Louisiana's snakes are harmless, and many are beneficial as predators of insects and rodents, as a source of income for reptile collectors, and as a necessary component of the food chain or "balance of nature." The fear of snakes in general, and particularly the venomous species, can be alleviated by understanding the behavior of snakes, and the limits of the threat they may pose to humans.

The gang spends some time on a Louisiana island crawling with snakes.
The gang spends some time on a Louisiana island crawling with snakes.

This venomous, juvenile Water Moccasin also has a wide, blocky head, and a very obvious neck that is narrower than the head.  (Note: this photo was sent to us by an Extension client who needlessly killed the snake and asked that we confirm that it was a venomous species.

Pale gray or tan above, with a row of dark blotches or spots down the back and one row on each side; reddish or orange band present down the middle of the back, and wide black band along the side of the head; underside whitish, gray or tan with brown blotches or spots; scales keeled and in 21-23 rows.
Dark tan, brown or nearly black, with vague black or dark brown crossbands; side of head black with a white line from the eye to the angle of the mouth; underside dark with large blackish blotches; scales keeled and in 25 rows.
Beige, tan or pale gray, often with a dull pink or orange tint above, with broad, darker brown, hourglass-shaped crossbands that slightly paler on the lower sides; underside whitish with dark brown blotches; scales keeled and in 23-27 rows.
Light tan or beige above with dark brown crossbands and a reddish stripe down the middle of the back; brown band from eye to angle of mouth; tail dark gray or black; scales keeled.

Life History Small snakes, small lizards and newborn mice form the mainstay of the Louisiana milk snake’s diet.
Generally speaking, you should never disturb snakes in the wild, especially if you are unsure whether the snake in front of you is a coral snake or a Louisiana milk snake.
Although non-venomous, Louisiana milk snakes look like highly venomous coral snakes-they both have bands of black, red, and yellow.
Unlike other snakes that become lethargic at night and during the cool days of spring and fall, Louisiana milk snakes move quickly and easily in cool temperatures.
Habitat Louisiana milk snakes prefer moist, sandy, low-lying wooded areas or beneath driftwood and other cover on the Gulf Coast barrier islands.
In reality, Louisiana milk snakes are members of the king snake family, and as such, they seldom bite, although they may nip.
Other It is important to know the difference between Louisiana milk snakes and coral snakes.
Coral snakes have red bands bordered by yellow; milk snakes have red bands bordered by black.
Louisiana milk snakes have alternating bands, in order, of black-red-black-yellow-black.
  Louisiana Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum amaura) Description The Louisiana milk snake is one of four coral snake-pretenders in Texas.
Milk snakes are secretive burrowers, hiding by day in loose, sandy soil, beneath objects on the ground or under the bark of tree trunks or logs.
One Louisiana milk snake lived for 20 years and 7 months in captivity, but the life span is shorter in the wild.

May be either pale gray, tan or brown with several rows of black spots down the back and sides, or, overall black or dark brown with a paler underside; scales keeled and in 25 rows.
Pale tan above with a pink cast to the underside; top of head dark brown with a pale collar followed by a dark collar; eyes tiny; scales smooth and in 15 rows.
Reddish brown or tan above, pale yellow below; a distinct dark band passes through the eye, bordered above by a pale line; scales smooth and in 17 rows.
Series of wide black and red rings, separated by narrow yellow rings, encircling the body; snout black and rear of head yellow; scales smooth and in 15 rows.
Series of wide black and red rings, separated by narrow yellow rings, encircling the body; snout black and rear of head yellow; scales smooth and in 15 rows.
Shiny black above with three longitudinal red stripes; yellow below and on the lower sides; underside with several rows of black spots; scales smooth and in 19 rows.
One pattern morph consists of dark brown to nearly black snakes with narrow tan or yellow crossbands and a pale orange band from the eye to the angle of the jaw.
Slate gray above, yellow-orange below with black dots or central row of spots; neck with a distinct yellow collar; scales smooth and in 15 rows.
Light tan or beige above with dark brown crossbands and a reddish stripe down the middle of the back; brown band from eye to angle of mouth; tail dark gray or black; scales keeled.
Black above, pink or scarlet below and up to the third scale row; eyes tiny; scales smooth and in 13 rows; small, harmless spine on the tip of the tail.
Pale gray or tan above with three broad, dark brown or black longitudinal stripes and a dark band through the eye; underside dark reddish brown with a central row of pale spots.
Shiny black above with a red underside crossed with black bands, the red irregularly extending onto the lower sides; tail tip with hardened point; scales smooth and in 19 rows.
Gray, tan, brown or slate gray above, pale yellow or whitish below; faint, pale collar may be present; scales keeled and in 17 rows.
Brown above, pink below and on the first to second scale row; eyes tiny; scales smooth and in 13 rows; small, harmless spine on the tip of the tail.

The bill also contains the vague language, “including but not limited to the following species.” This previously placed regulations on any snake that surpassed 8′ in length, but could now mean any constricting species of snake, even if the species is not listed in the law.
It would also lead to the immediate euthanization of all Burmese pythons, Southern African pythons, African Rock pythons and Yellow anacondas kept as pets as they are federally listed as injurious under the Lacey Act and cannot be legally transported out of state.
The constrictor snakes listed below currently require a permit from LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (DW&F) once they reach 8′ and can be kept by private keepers.

In March 2004, eight state and federal agencies signed a landmark Candidate Conservation Agreement to protect the Louisiana Pine Snake on federal lands in Texas and Louisiana.[5] Organizations participating in the effort include: Fort Polk Military Installation, Kisatchie National Forest, National Forests in Texas, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast and Southwest Regions, and United States Forest Service’s Southern Research Station.
Survival of the Louisiana pine snake depends on that of Baird’s pocket gopher, whose abundance in turn depends on the understory plants and loose, sandy soil of the Longleaf Pine savannas.
The Louisiana pine snake is generally associated with sandy, well-drained soils; open pine forests, especially Longleaf Pine savanna; moderate to sparse midstory; and a well-developed herbaceous understory dominated by grasses.
The Louisiana pine snake is indigenous to west-central Louisiana and eastern Texas, where it relies strongly on Baird’s pocket gopher for its burrow system and as a food source.
The suppression of natural fire events may represent the greatest threat to the Louisiana pine snake in recent years, decreasing both the quantity and quality of habitat available to pine snakes.

On the House side, however, snakes have been found in a section of the building known as “Alario Hall” curled up in closets, slithering across the carpet in basement-level committee rooms and coiled up in the corner of a downstairs bathroom.
Unlike rat snakes and other snakes known to climb up walls, the water snakes around the State Capitol generally look for low ground, which, Boundy said, likely explains how the snakes found themselves in the lower-level of the State Capitol.
Chris Frink, director of the House Democratic Caucus, remembers a period two years ago when a number of snakes was found in the basement of the State Capitol.
Longtime state legislator and Senate President John Alario, R,-Westwego, reflected this week on the snakes being found in the part of the building named after him.
“I live in Pierre Part, so we have a lot of snakes, but the most worrisome part was not knowing what kind of snake it was,” St.
“We’re talking about real snakes; not the two-legged kind?” state Rep.
The issue of snakes inside the State Capitol hasn’t been well-publicized within the building.

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Beige, tan or pale gray, often with a dull pink or orange tint above, with broad, darker brown, hourglass-shaped crossbands that slightly paler on the lower sides; underside whitish with dark brown blotches.
Light tan or beige above with dark brown crossbands and a reddish stripe down the middle of the back; brown band from eye to angle of mouth; tail dark gray or black; scales keeled.
Pale gray-brown or tan above with dark brown or black crossbars alternating on the back and sides; dark markings are smaller than the interspaces; underside yellowish with small dark markings.

A number of zoos and governmental agencies are working diligently on recovery efforts for the Louisiana pine snake.
Louisiana pine snake survival depends on the Baird’s pocket gopher, the primary food source.
Recognized as one of the rarest snake in North America, the Louisiana pine snake is protected in the wild and carefully managed in zoos.
American Zoo and Aquarium Association manages a Species Survival Plan for the snake to oversee the captive population.
Mailing address: Audubon Nature Institute 6500 Magazine St.
Audubon Wilderness Park, Audubon Insectarium and Audubon Nature Institute Foundation.

Had regulars Taco and Gary on board for a very windy day of fishing.It was blowing when i got out of the truck to get the boat ready.We could not fish most of the spots where i have been catching due to the wind and the tide being different.We stuck out until we called ‘uncle’ on the wind.It was so gusty you could not feel the bite.

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It describes the species of snakes found in Louisiana, including venomous snakes.
A quick field guide to help identify snakes.
It describes the species of snakes found in Louisiana, including venomous snakes.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we’ll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App.
Common and scientific names, size, habitat, diet and behavior are described in this handy 12 panel fold-out.
Common and scientific names, size, habitat, diet and behavior are described in this handy 12 panel fold-out.
Excellent information on what each snake eats and labels the venomous snakes.
This is an excellent pamphlet on Snakes in Louisiana.
This fact-filled guide is an excellent resource for all nature enthusiasts.
This fact-filled guide is an excellent resource for all nature enthusiasts.

In slide-pushing, irregular bends of the body and tail press vertically on the surface at different points; although the body slips on the surface, it pushes down with enough force to move the center of mass in a quasi-regular, often step-like, pattern.  Thus the snake progresses irregularly by slipping along the ground.
As the snake progresses, each point along its body follows along the path established by the head and neck, like the cars of a train following the engine as it moves along the track (although the propulsive mechanism is very different); thus, sliding friction is a critical component of lateral undulation.
In rectilinear locomotion, the belly scales are alternately lifted slightly from the ground and pulled forward, and then pulled downward and backward.  But because the scales "stick" against the ground, the body is actually pulled forward over them.  Once the body has moved far enough forward to stretch the scales, the cycle repeats.  This cycle occurs simultaneously at several points along the body.  Static friction is the dominant type of friction involved in rectilinear locomotion.
Unlike lateral undulation and sidewinding, which involve unilateral muscle activity that alternates from one side of the body to the other, rectilinear locomotion involves bilateral activity of the muscles that connect the skin to the skeleton.
Sidewinding is similar to lateral undulation in the pattern of bending, but differs in three critical ways: First, each point along the body is sequentially placed in static (rather than sliding) friction with the substrate.
The bends push laterally against surface objects, but do not deform locally around them, and usually slip out of contact quickly; in this way, simple undulation differs from the more complex Lateral Undulation of snakes (see below).
Most elongate and limbless lizards use simple undulation when crawling on the surface of the ground; however, a few species use the more complex mode of lateral undulation that snakes use.
Simple undulation is characterized by waves of lateral bending being propagated along the body from head to tail.

View full sizeDepartment of Wildlife and Fisheries photo via APA Louisiana pine snake, one of the rarest snakes in the United States, moves along a fence after its release in the Kisatchie National Forest.
Louisiana pine snakes are kept at 18 zoos, but in recent years the only ones where they’ve bred are the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownville, Texas; the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo and The Memphis Zoo, Reichling said.
Louisiana pine snakes have the largest eggs and hatchlings of any North American snake, coming out of the egg about 18 to 22 inches long, but each female lays only three to five 5-inch-long eggs.
Louisiana pine snakes used to be classified as one of four pine snake subspecies, the others being northern, southern and black.
The snakes are candidates for federal listing as endangered — meaning the science has been worked up but other species are considered higher priority — and are listed in Texas as endangered and in Louisiana as imperiled to vulnerable.
About a dozen youngsters bred at the Audubon Zoo and released years ago "didn’t fare well, mainly because the snakes didn’t know how to act like pine snakes because they were raised in captivity," said Nick Hanna, assistant curator for reptiles and amphibians.
Three male Louisiana pine snakes were released Tuesday, joining 27 that were released during the past two years.

The Louisiana pine snake is likely to hunt pocket gophers within their underground burrows, moving rapidly through the burrow and then using its body to pin the gopher to the side and crush it.
The presence of pocket gophers is an essential requirement of the Louisiana pine snake’s habitat, as the snake relies on the gophers for food and depends on their burrows for shelter and hibernation sites.
The Louisiana pine snake is typically found in longleaf pine-oak sandhills interspersed with moist bottomlands (low-lying land near rivers), but it is also known to reside in sandy shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) and post oak (Quercus stellata) forest, as well as in blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) woodland (1) (2).
Due to its limited range, reclusive nature and low numbers, the Louisiana pine snake is perhaps one of the least well understood large snakes in the United States (10).
Surveys suggest that the Louisiana pine snake has declined in range and abundance as a result of these threats, and it now only occurs in small populations in highly fragmented patches of habitat (1) (3) (4).
The Louisiana pine snake also hibernates inside a pocket gopher burrow during the winter months (4) (10) (11), but unlike the pine snake (P.
The Louisiana pine snake (Pituophis ruthveni) has long been considered one of the rarest snakes in the United States (3) (4).
If the gopher backfills the burrow to prevent the snake’s advance, the Louisiana pine snake is usually able to use its head and neck to dig through the barrier (9).
Reichling, S.B. (1995) The taxonomic status of the Louisiana pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus ruthveni) and its relevance to the evolutionary species concept.
Similarly to its close relative the gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer), the Louisiana pine snake may exhibit an aggressive display when approached or provoked, hissing loudly, spreading its head and sometimes vibrating its tail (2).
Declining pocket gopher numbers therefore present a serious threat to the Louisiana pine snake (1) (3) (4) (10).
Himes, J.G., Hardy, L.M., Rudolph, D.C. and Burgdorf, S.J. (2002) Growth rates and mortality of the Louisiana pine snake (Pituophis ruthveni).
The Louisiana pine snake is a ‘Candidate Species’ for federal listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, meaning it is under review for possible listing as threatened or endangered, but is not yet legally protected (6).
The Louisiana pine snake was previously treated as a subspecies of the pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus) (1), but studies have shown it to be a separate species (8).
These changes make the habitat unsuitable for pocket gophers and therefore also for the Louisiana pine snake (3) (4) (9).
A large, relatively heavy-bodied snake (2), the Louisiana pine snake can be identified by its distinctive colouration and patterning, which consists of dark blotches on a yellow-brown background colour.
However, the Louisiana pine snake is also likely to feed on other small mammals, as well as birds, bird and turtle eggs, and sometimes lizards (2) (4) (9).
The Louisiana pine snake tends to prefer open and disturbed woodland over dense forest, and can often be found in fields, farmland and areas of secondary growth (1) (2).
The Louisiana pine snake has an exceptionally small clutch size of three to five eggs, which is the smallest clutch of any North American snake (4).
The long-term survival of the Louisiana pine snake will depend on management measures that reverse the decline in its fire-dependent habitat (3).
As suggested by its common name, the Louisiana pine snake can be found in parts of west-central Louisiana in the United States.
Other potential threats to the Louisiana pine snake include collection for the pet trade and direct killing by humans (1) (2) (4).
There are not reported to be any major differences in appearance between the male and female Louisiana pine snake, apart from the female generally being shorter in length (7).
The Louisiana pine snake has a yellowish-buff underside with small, irregular dark markings (2) (5) (6).
The eggs of the Louisiana pine snake are likely to be laid in an underground chamber and hatch after 58 to 66 days.
There is also evidence to suggest that increasing road density and subsequent vehicular traffic is a threat to the Louisiana pine snake (1) (2) (4).
A Candidate Conservation Agreement was established in 2004 to protect, conserve and manage the Louisiana pine snake.
Although the Louisiana pine snake may potentially grow to up to 179 centimetres long, lengths of up to about 152 centimetres are more common (2).
Most information on reproduction in the Louisiana pine snake is from captive breeding studies.
This agreement involves protecting remaining populations and their habitat, restoring degraded habitat, maintaining the longleaf pine ecosystem and reducing the threats to the Louisiana pine snake’s survival (1) (4).
The Louisiana pine snake is non-venomous (4), relying instead on its powerful muscles to crush its prey.
The Louisiana pine snake is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).
Over half of the Louisiana pine snake’s time is spent below ground, usually within a pocket gopher burrow (4).
The Louisiana pine snake’s natural habitat is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the United States (12).
Rudolph, D.C. and Burgdorf, S.J. (1997) Timber rattlesnakes and Louisiana pine snakes of the West Gulf Coastal Plain: hypotheses of decline.
The blotches on the front part of the Louisiana pine snake’s body are usually dark brown to black, but become a lighter, richer reddish-brown towards the tail (2) (5) (6).
This snake is primarily found in open longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savanna, in areas with sandy, well-drained soil and abundant herbaceous ground cover (1) (4).

In a longleaf pine forest in north Louisiana, there’s a moment of suspense for biologist Beau Gregory each time he lifts the lid on a snake trap.
As mentioned before, the Louisiana pine snake is a candidate for placement on the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species and this status is due to be reassessed in the near future the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Natural Heritage Program addresses species that are either listed or approaching becoming listed under the USFWS Endangered Species List.
While there is still much to be learned about the Louisiana pine snake, the hope is that groups working together can help establish a habitat and management practice to restore this species to a manageable population.
Over the last few years, Gregory along with a few other biologist have checked snake traps on a weekly basis hoping to find one snake in particular, the Louisiana pine snake (Pituophis ruthveni).
Gregory checks a snake trap in a young long leaf pine forest.

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