How to Identify Snakes in Missouri

How to Identify Snakes in MissouriMissouri is a state with wild parks, rural expanses and an range of terrain that has one entire side bordering the Mississippi River and the other bordering prairie. These conditions mean Missouri is home to a wide variety of snakes. As some of these serpents are venomous, basic snake identification is a skill that is useful to both residents and visitors, because virtually everyone who is not in a major urban area is also in overlapping snake habitats. (Pictured: Graham's Crayfish Snake)


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Either measure the snake or take estimates of its size. Graham's crayfish snake, which likes the muddy bottoms of Missouri's lakes and streams, is usually between 18 and 32 inches long but can grow up to 48 inches long. Also take note of whether the snake is slender or stout. Pit vipers, a classification that includes Missouri's cottonmouths, rattlesnakes and copperheads, all have considerable girth for their length.
Step 2
Look at the snake's skin and see what both the colors and the color pattern are. For example, the diamondback water snake resembles some rattlesnakes, with a diamond pattern of tan splotches and black banding that it has evolved to fool predators. However, unlike a real rattlesnake, this serpent is aquatic and is found around Missouri's waterways.
Step 3
Take note of any distinct features. For example, another way to confirm the difference between a diamondback water snake and rattlesnake is whether there is a rattle.
Step 4
Look at the eyes of the snake. All the poisonous snake species of Missouri are pit vipers and have slit pupils. If a snake has round pupils, it is either not poisonous or not native to Missouri.
Step 5
Observe the other features of the snake's head and face. The non-poisonous bull snake, for example, has an angular head that is distinctly separate from the body, with a rounded snout.

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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