How to Identify Snakes in Ohio

How to Identify Snakes in OhioOhio is a state of contrasts. Between the midwestern industrial cities that dot its map are vast stretches of rural farming country. Unsurprisingly, that area is home to a variety of snake species, three of which are venomous. Telling snakes apart isn't always easy, especially if one has been discovered unexpectedly, so a little guidance on the matter will prove helpful for everyone in Ohio from campers to suburbanites. (Picture: Northern Copperhead)


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Begin the procedure by answering the most urgent question: is the snake venomous? Ohio's three venomous serpents are all pit vipers, and share common facial features: pit organs located between the nose and eyes, and eyes with slit pupils. If you see either of these two features in Ohio, you know the snake is one of the following: a copperhead, a pygmy rattlesnake, or a timber rattlesnake.
Step 2
Continue by looking for other highly distinguishing features found in some Ohio snakes, such as a rattle or the upturned snout of the hognose snake. Both of these species also have very distinctive behaviors. The rattlesnake shakes its rattle when threatened; the hognose snake plays dead.
Step 3
Determine the length and girth of the snake. For example, both the northern water snake and queen snake of Ohio are found near watercourses, but one way to tell them apart is by size. Queen snakes rarely exceed 2 feet in length, while northern water snakes are twice as long.
Step 4
Look at the color of the snake. The common garter snake and two different species of green snake can be found in Ohio, and usually in the same grassy areas. The garter snake is usually black with end-to-end stripes, while the green snake is all green.

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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