How to Identify Snakes in Maryland

How to Identify Snakes in MarylandThe state of Maryland may be small, but it is a panhandle that extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian mountain range. It covers a wide range of terrain and climates and is home to many good parks and campsites. That means campers are likely to encounter one of the plethora of snake species in the state and should be able to identify at least the more poisonous varieties. (Pictured: Corn Snake)


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Observe the head and snout of the snake. Is the head distinct, or is it an indistinct extension of the body? What is the head shaped like, and is it big or small? The eastern king snake, a constrictor that is common everywhere in Maryland, has a large, indistinct head.
Step 2
Observe the width of the snake's body. There is no need to guess this as a measurement but instead simply decide whether the body is thick or thin. The endangered, harmless mountain earth snake has a thin body. If the mountain earth snake can be found, it will be in noncoastal Maryland under a rotting log.
Step 3
Estimate the serpent's body length. The northern copperhead, Maryland's most common poisonous snake, is typically between 20 and 37 inches. It can be found in the forests, frequently either hiding in piles of dead leaves or sunning itself on a rock outcropping.
Step 4
Take note of the color pattern. The aforementioned eastern king snake is black with thin yellow-white bands and stripes.
Step 5
Try to see what shape the snake's pupils are. Maryland's numerous nonpoisonous snakes will have round pupils. Its poisonous snakes -- the timber rattlesnake and the northern and southern varieties of copperheads -- will have slit pupils.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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