How to Identify Snakes in Alabama

How to Identify Snakes in Alabama
Being a largely rural state of thick pinewoods, Alabama is home to plenty of snakes. Some of these are dangerous, as there are three different species of rattlesnake, plus the coral snake, copperhead and cottonmouth all living within the state's borders. For both outdoorsmen and everyday citizens, a little knowledge on how to identify snakes will prove very useful.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Examine the serpent's face and head. First, five of the six poisonous snakes in Alabama are pit vipers, with slit pupil eyes and small pits below the nostrils. The sole exception is the colorful coral snake, so if a snake has slit pupils and pits, it automatically eliminates many potential snake species from consideration. Also, the size and shape of the head can provide clues to snake identification. For example, Alabama's eastern hognose snake has a distinctive snout that is easy to identify.
Step 2
Listen for or try to see if the snake has a rattle. The presence of this feature automatically narrows the field down to just three species of Alabama rattlesnake: the timber, the eastern diamondback and the pygmy. Note that the pygmy rattle, due to its very small size, will sound more like an insect buzz than the well-known rattle of a bigger rattlesnake.
Step 3
Take note of both the color and pattern of the snake's skin. The speckled kingsnake of Alabama's coastal region is black with yellow-white speckles and a yellow-white underbelly.
Step 4
Take note of the snake's size. First, is the snake stout or slender? All three varieties of Alabama rattlesnake are thick for their size. Then estimate the length of the snake's body. The southern black racer, which is found almost everywhere in Alabama, varies between 25 and 55 inches long.

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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