Snake Pictures in Louisiana

Snakes From Louisiana

Speckled Kingsnakes eat mice, rats, and even poisonous snakes.
Speckled Kingsnakes eat mice, rats, and even poisonous snakes. | Source

Coexisting Peacefully with Snakes

Louisiana has many snakes, and thus many wonderful photo ops present themselves as I go about on our nine-acre habitat along the Tchefuncte River. I have included some of the best of these interesting reptiles for your viewing enjoyment.

My husband has been an amateur herpetologist since he was a young boy. As a child, I was taught to identify poisonous snakes, but my husband expanded my knowledge greatly. Now I can quickly identify the different species of Louisiana snakes. I even handle the nonvenomous varieties. I hope that these pictures will help those who are not familiar with these reptiles to identify harmless snakes, as well as the venomous types.

Snakes are an extremely important part of the food chain and the cycle of life. They help keep the population of vermin (like mice and rats) down, which helps protect our food supply.

In our habitat, we try to coexist peacefully with all species of snakes, even the venomous Cottonmouth and Copperhead. Because we try to keep the natural balance between the larger predators (bobcats and raccoons) intact, we rarely have problems with snakes, except when they are forced to flee to higher ground during high-water periods.

Non-Poisonous Louisiana Snakes

Gentle Speckled Kingsnake

Kingsnakes are constrictors and have a very gentle temperament.
Kingsnakes are constrictors and have a very gentle temperament. | Source

Speckled Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula holbrooki

One of my favorite snakes of Louisiana is the Speckled Kingsnake. Not only are they beautiful, but they're beneficial to humans. Kingsnakes eat rodents and will often kill and eat poisonous snakes, like the Cottonmouth and Copperhead. We welcome these gentle creatures into our garden and protect them in our habitat.

Black Racer, Coluber constrictor

A black racer poised under a hummingbird feeder during fall migration.
A black racer poised under a hummingbird feeder during fall migration. | Source

In Louisiana, we have the Southern Black Racer and four sub-species. Black Racers are very fast snakes. They hunt with their heads up, sensing their prey. They do not constrict, but grab prey and often swallow it whole.

We are blessed to have quite a few of these lovely snakes in our habitat. The very young of the species is speckled. As they mature, they develop the dark, bluish-black coloration of the adults.

Black Racers will sometime swim across our pond, though they are more comfortable on land. From a distance, we have mistaken them for Yellow-Bellied water snakes and vice-versa. Black racers have a cream-colored patch on their throats, but their bellies are gray. Yellow-Bellied water snakes are creamy yellow on the throat and all the way down to their tails.

Young Black Racer

The scales of Black Racers show hints of blue when the sunlight hits them.
The scales of Black Racers show hints of blue when the sunlight hits them. | Source
Black Racers have creamy white throats, but the rest of the underside is gray.
Black Racers have creamy white throats, but the rest of the underside is gray. | Source
Yellow-Bellied water snakes have yellow undersides from throat to tail.
Yellow-Bellied water snakes have yellow undersides from throat to tail. | Source

Texas Rat Snake, Elaphe obsoleta lindheimerii

Source

Both the Black Rat Snake and the Texas Rat Snake inhabit Louisiana. In the southeastern part of the state, the Texas Rat Snake is more prevalent. These snakes are amazing climbers and have been known to climb 40 feet in pine trees.

I personally witnessed this one afternoon, when I observed a Pileated Woodpecker which was acting strangely. The woodpecker ended up "herding" the rat snake down the tree to my waiting stick. We then transported the snake down to the river, away from our bluebird houses.

Texas Rat Snake Coiled

Texas Rat snakes are also constrictors. They eat many rats and other rodents.
Texas Rat snakes are also constrictors. They eat many rats and other rodents. | Source

Adult Ring-Neck Snake

An adult Ring-Neck on my husband's hand.
An adult Ring-Neck on my husband's hand. | Source

Ring-Neck Snake, Diadophis punctatus

Ring-Neck snakes are very small. They live in leaf litter and under logs. Their bright yellow and orange undersides are thought to be a defense mechanism. They usually roll over on their backs when in danger, which momentarily confuses the predator, giving them time to quickly escape.

Ring-Neck Snake

Ring-Necked snakes are very small.
Ring-Necked snakes are very small. | Source

Water Snakes of Louisiana

Diamondback Water Snake

These snakes are attractive, large, and not poisonous.
These snakes are attractive, large, and not poisonous. | Source

Diamondback Water Snake, Nerodia rhombifer

These large, interesting snakes are often seen in the Tchefuncte River. They eat fish, and will often wrap their tail around a submerged branch and lay motionless until prey comes near. We've captured some pictures of this hunting technique and have even observed these beautiful snakes devouring a meal of fresh catfish. Sadly, Diamondback water snakes are often mistaken for Cottonmouths and are killed.

A Diamondback water snake in its natural habitat.
A Diamondback water snake in its natural habitat. | Source
These snakes live in water, but are often seen on land.
These snakes live in water, but are often seen on land. | Source

Yellow-Bellied Water Snake, Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster

Yellow-Bellied water snakes are one of the Plain Bellied Water Snakes. Yellow-Bellies are often found far from water. We sometimes have a pair of the large snakes in our patio and water garden area in spring.

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Poisonous Snakes of Louisiana

Cottonmouth Coiled

Note the bluish, cloudy eyes. This Cottonmouth will soon shed its skin.
Note the bluish, cloudy eyes. This Cottonmouth will soon shed its skin. | Source

Cottonmouth Hunting

A Cottonmouth in Pruden Creek, hunting for breakfast. You can see some of the lighter markings which indicate that this snake is probably only 2-3 years old.
A Cottonmouth in Pruden Creek, hunting for breakfast. You can see some of the lighter markings which indicate that this snake is probably only 2-3 years old. | Source

There are six species of poisonous snakes that inhabit Louisiana. In our habitat, the most common one is the Cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus. The Cottonmouth (also called Water Moccasin) is a member of the Pit Viper family. It is venomous and has fangs which inject venom into its prey. They live in and around water and are the only semi-aquatic viper in the world.

The young are very colorful and are often confused with Copperheads.

Its brightly colored 'cousin', the Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix, also inhabits our part of Louisiana. We rarely see Copperheads, because many have been killed and those that remain are very reclusive. We are still hoping to get a picture of one of these beautiful snakes.

When we encounter poisonous snakes on the trails, we use a long stick to flip them away. We try not to kill them.

Copperhead and Cottonmouth Identification

C: Copperhead Snake D: Cottonmouth Snake The markings on the head of these two closely related pit vipers are very different. Note the light colored face of the copperhead and the dark slash behind and under the eye of the cottonmouth.
C: Copperhead Snake D: Cottonmouth Snake The markings on the head of these two closely related pit vipers are very different. Note the light colored face of the copperhead and the dark slash behind and under the eye of the cottonmouth. | Source

Copperhead or Cottonmouth?

Some comments from readers indicate that they thought the picture below of a young cottonmouth (which found its way onto our porch) was of a young copperhead. Cottonmouths and copperheads belong to the same genus and are close cousins. I have provided two additional photos which may clear this matter up.

The best way to identify these snakes is to look at the markings on the head. Copperheads have a paler face with no dark markings, while cottonmouths have a dark slash mark behind the eye and another dark area under the eye. The markings on the body of cottonmouths do not turn dark until they are over a year old and get darker with age. Also, the pattern of the young snakes is different, with the copperheads having larger, more solid triangular patterns on their bodies. The young ones both have yellowish tips on their tails.

Baby Cottonmouth

A baby Cottonmouth found its way into our screen porch, which was under construction.  I escorted it out.
A baby Cottonmouth found its way into our screen porch, which was under construction. I escorted it out. | Source

Young Cottonmouth on Porch

Here is another shot of the young cottonmouth on the porch. Look at the head and make note of the dark stripe. Copperheads do not have a dark stripe and the pattern on the body is different,
Here is another shot of the young cottonmouth on the porch. Look at the head and make note of the dark stripe. Copperheads do not have a dark stripe and the pattern on the body is different, | Source

Cottonmouth Sunning

Cottonmouths give birth to live young. We think this one was pregnant.
Cottonmouths give birth to live young. We think this one was pregnant. | Source

© 2011 Yvonne L. B.

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Please leave a comment before slithering off. 33 comments

JimmieWriter profile image

JimmieWriter 5 years ago from Memphis, TN USA

I clicked beautiful, but that's only in the abstract way of "God's creation is amazing."

Ugh. Snakes. :-)

Great lens!


nickupton profile image

nickupton 5 years ago from Bangkok

Excellent photos, I really enjoyed this.


Selena Rossi 5 years ago

Even though my mom is scared of snakes I really think that they are neat and awesome to learn about.


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 5 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Jimmie... and you are 100% correct. I wish more people would look at all of God's creatures that way.


pinkydoo profile image

pinkydoo 5 years ago from New York

I'm okay with non-poisonous snakes - sort of (there was one in our basement, and my first instinct was, "AHHHH!" but then I just found it fascinating). My husband got the snake into a laundry bag, and put it back in the woods! However, POISONOUS snakes, I'm not so okay with! Nice hub!


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 5 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Pinkydoo, Thanks for the comment. I'm not a big fan of venomous snakes either, but they are an important part of the food chain and biodiversity in our habitat.


Jayd 4 years ago

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. They are similar in size but they have the stripes running down the back while the Ringnecks are one solid dark color with the yellow belly.


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 4 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Thanks for the comment. I'll do a little more research and check that out. The smaller photo was taken in Baton Rouge and the larger one was in Covington, LA.


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 4 years ago from South Louisiana Author

I checked my guides and none of the Brown Snakes in Louisiana have yellow bellies and they also don't have ringnecks. Take a look at my lens: http://hubpages.com/animals/ring-neck-snake-louisi . I have 3 or 4 pictures of the same snake that was on my husband's hand. I think it was just a trick of the light or the fact that the snake was very fat. The other photos don't show the tiny dark stripe-like marks.


Jayd 4 years ago

I am sorry. I was wrong. I didn't see the belly. That is a Red Belly Snake they are very similar to Browns (same genus)but have a bright red belly. Here is a link with photos.

http://www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology/index.php?...

I just know for a fact it isn't a Ringneck.


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 4 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Are you looking at the tiny snake that is on the hand with the pinkie ring? This snake was an adult and was only a few inches long and was no where near water. I found the little snake when I was weeding a flower bed.

In Louisiana? I am familiar with red bellied and yellow bellied water snakes and have observed, held and photographed them for years. This is not one. There is a picture of one further down in the hub that my husband is holding with both hands.

However if you are talking about Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata), then I could see the similarity except that the belly is yellow, not red, the head is not dark and the stripe is not as pronounced as it should be. I suppose it could be some sort or rare or hybrid red-bellied, but that's just not doing it for me.

According to Snakes of the Southeast, the Florida red-bellied snake, S. o. obscura, is the only red-bellied here and it doesn't look anything like the one I photographed.

After looking at the other shots I took of the same individual, I'm still thinking that this is a lighter version than usual and that it was the angle and the way the light hit it that made it look like a solid stripe.

It is hard to identify a snake from a photograph. Plus you are not considering the snake's size, location, and other factors. Thanks for your interest.


shyla 4 years ago

i think snakes are cool but deadly earlier today i saw a snake.it was black with 2 yellow but green lines going down its back if anyone reads this please tell me what kind of snake it is.(look me up on facebook as shylawhinery


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 4 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Hi Shyla, That sounds like a non-poisonous garter or a ribbon snake, but since you didn't say what part of the country (or world) you are from, I can't say for sure. Ok, I just checked FB (you make this kind of hard, LOL) and I see you are from Texas, so it could be a garter or ribbon snake.


Dus 4 years ago

My friend got bit by a cotton mouth a couple days ago and if been looking at all kinds of snakes and reading about them and they are way more interesting then I thought


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 4 years ago from South Louisiana Author

I hope your friend suffered no ill effects from the snake bite. Cottonmouths are very venomous if they are large or if it has been a while since they injected the venom into prey. It's best not to handle venomous snakes. You should always watch where you walk or place your hands when you are in snake habitat.


danny 4 years ago

i do not like snakes at all my brother has a ball python and a cat and i have a dog


joyce 4 years ago

im scared to death of snakes...i came in contact with 3 this weekend...one looked like the king snake in the pic but then i had one that was black with red stripes from head to tail and one that was a deep gray with yellow under the head but bot the body....so interested to find out...i have pets


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 4 years ago from South Louisiana Author

If the black & red stripes had a little yellow stripe then you could have seen a scarlet kingsnake or a coral snake. The deep gray with yellow could be a yellow bellied kingsnake or maybe a black racer, although the throat is more white than yellow. I have a Squidoo page about Snakes of Louisiana (http://www.squidoo.com/snakes_louisiana) with more pictures that you may find helpful.


stormi 4 years ago

I have a house Im remodeling. I know I have a rat due to the evidence left behind. I recently ventured in to my house a few days ago and stumbled upon a solid black snake. Coiled up it looked to be about an inch round, I could not tell the length. I freaked and haven't been back!! With knowing the rat is in there, Im assuming its a rat snake. But I have freaked myswlf out on finding pictures and info on a racer snake. I live in central north Louisiana, in rural country. Any ideas????


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 4 years ago from South Louisiana Author

The black rat snake (or chicken snake as we called them in Coushatta) and black racer both live in north central La. Both eat lots of rats and are non-venomous. They are our friends. :) After they eat the rats, they will leave. I have written pages about both with many photos on Squidoo. Here are the links: http://hubpages.com/animals/blackracer_snake and http://hubpages.com/animals/rat-snakes-in-louisian Hope this helps.


walter dugan 3 years ago

if you don't mindcan you talk about the eye of poisonous,andnon poisonous snakes and if there is a difference between the 2 species, by their eyes. i also have been told in collegethat teh eastern coral is akin to cobras,venom wise. i live southcentrl louisiana,and had a few encounters with them.is the saying "red to yellow kills a fellow, and red to black venom lack". thanks


Dee 2 years ago

Thank you! We live in Pearl River, LA and your info and pics are very helpful. Appreciate the hard work you put into sharing with us!


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 2 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Walter,

Pit vipers eyes do look different from from the round eyes of non-venomous snakes. Vipers such as the cottonmouth & rattlesnakes also have a pit behind the eye and slight hoods over the eye.

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.


Paul_dixonjfd24@icloud.com 2 years ago

I was looking for a snake that was found in the baby's bed. It looks like a mike, or a king; but has a head like a cooper head. It has rings red, black, white, black, red, on upper part, and it's bottom half way is gray with the same strips. Been here 47 years and never seen one. Looks like a cross bread, or not from around here. Ps. It's 14 "


LKslates profile image

LKslates 2 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

Maybe y'all can help me out. I've seen two snakes of the same species but have been unable to find any descriptions or photographs that match what I've seen. For clarification, I live in Orleans Parish, LA close to both the mighty river and the Intracoastal Waterway. The snakes are long (about four to five feet) and have a solid, silver body with a pale, yellowish belly. I can't remember much about them beyond that - they don't have any blotches or easily distinguishable marks. They are not aggressive by any stretch of the imagination. They tend to appear near wood piles (of which I have way too many). They're very flashy and beautiful to see but not being able to put a name to them bothers me greatly. Any ideas?


henrymoorehouse 2 years ago

Are you sure your baby cottonmouth is not actually a copperhead?


Lcylynn 2 years ago

At the bottom where it has three pics and says cottonmouth. Top says cottonmouth then the middle pic says baby cottonmouth. 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. The pattern on the back. A copperhead is orangish with the same exact pattern. I've never seen a cottonmouth that looks that that. There r a bunches of different colored cottonmouths but it's never looked like a copperhead.


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 2 years ago from South Louisiana Author

Cottonmouth and copperhead snakes belong to the same genus. You could say that they are close cousins. Very young (under a month) baby cottonmouths are very colorful and have bright markings that darken with age. The distinctive yellow tipped tail is another identification tool. Though they are colorful, the head does not have the reddish copper color of copperheads. Because of lighting in photographs, the color may look more red than it is. Also the color tints on computer screens vary.

I, too, have many cottonmouths on my property in South Louisiana and have observed and photographed all shapes and sizes and at close range. However we have never run across a copperhead of any size. The young of many species of snakes do not look like the adult snake.


naturegirl7s profile image

naturegirl7s 2 years ago from Covington, LA

Another way to tell a cottonmouth from a copperhead is that cottonmouths, even small colorful ones, have a dark stripe on their face from behind the nose to under and behind the eye. Copperheads have no stripe and also have light beige cheeks and throats. See pictures of copperheads on http://hubpages.com/animals/copperhead-snake-louis...


Justin 18 months ago

Fantastic work! I've lived in north la, just north of coushatta actually, all of my life. I'm going to have to agree with lcylynn and Henry on that one though. I have probably seen more copperheads than moccasins over the years. If that's a moccasin, it'd be the most resemblant to a copperhead I've ever seen. I once tore down a beaver dam in greenwood one summer and shook up a bottomland full of both juveniles and adults. It was then that I first noticed the chartreuse tail on the juvenile copperheads. Absolutely beautiful! But both are very dangerous at that stage.

I think you should relabel that pic and scratch copperheads off your wish list! Celebrate!


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 18 months ago from South Louisiana Author

Justin,

Baby cottonmouths also have the yellowish-chartreuse tail. I think that the pattern of this snake is different from a copperhead, but I will compare my high resulution pictures to the many guides that I have, plus 20+ years of personal observations and give it a 2nd look.


naturegirl7 profile image

naturegirl7 18 months ago from South Louisiana Author

I added 2 photos. One is another view of the young cottonmouth which better shows its head and markings. The other is an illustration comparing copperheads and cottonmouths. I hope this helps to clear up the identity confusion.


Chris Brown 5 months ago

I have found a very young ground rattle snake in my house, my cousin got bit by a copperhead in her house, hospitalized for 2 or 3 days.... I used to kill all snakes! But my husband has taught me to look at the difference. Had a Brown snake on my carport just last night. They are everywhere but I just don't know where they go..... it's hard but I have seen 5 so far and all are still living.

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    naturegirl7 profile image

    Yvonne L. B. (naturegirl7)131 Followers
    40 Articles

    Yvonne enjoys photographing and studying the many mammals, reptiles and amphibians that dwell in her backyard habitat in Louisiana.



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