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Snakes in Arkansas: An Expert’s Guide on Each Species

Snakes in Arkansas are very diverse, with over 30 different species found in the state. While some people may have a fear of these slithery creatures, they play an important role in the ecosystem and can even be beneficial to humans in certain ways. In this article, we will provide an expert’s guide on each species of snake found in Arkansas, including their physical characteristics, habitats, behaviors, and any potential dangers associated with them.

Introduction

Snakes are fascinating creatures that have long captured the attention of humans, both in awe and fear. In Arkansas, there are over 30 different species of snakes, ranging from harmless, non-venomous snakes to some of the most venomous in the United States. In this guide, we will explore each species found in Arkansas, providing information on their physical characteristics, habitats, behaviors, and potential dangers.

Importance of Snakes in the Ecosystem

Before delving into the different species of snakes found in Arkansas, it is important to understand the role they play in the ecosystem. Snakes are predators that help to control populations of rodents, insects, and other small animals. Without snakes, these populations could spiral out of control, leading to an overabundance of pests that can damage crops and spread disease.

Additionally, snakes can also help to maintain biodiversity by preying on specific species of animals that might otherwise become dominant in an ecosystem. By keeping populations in check, snakes help to create a balanced and healthy ecosystem.

Venomous vs. Non-Venomous Snakes In Arkansas

One of the most important distinctions when it comes to snakes is whether or not they are venomous. Venomous snakes use specialized glands to produce toxins that can be injected into their prey, while non-venomous snakes rely on constriction or swallowing their prey whole.

In Arkansas, there are six species of venomous snakes: the timber rattlesnake, copperhead, western cottonmouth, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, and western pigmy rattlesnake. While these snakes can be dangerous if provoked or surprised, they are generally not aggressive towards humans and will only attack if they feel threatened.

Timber Rattlesnake

The timber rattlesnake is one of the largest venomous snakes found in Arkansas, growing up to six feet in length. They are typically found in rocky, wooded areas and are easily recognized by their distinctive rattles at the end of their tail. While they are venomous, timber rattlesnakes are generally docile and will only strike if they feel threatened.

Copperhead

The copperhead is another venomous snake found in Arkansas, easily recognized by the hourglass-shaped bands of color on their bodies. They are typically found in wooded areas and can

be quite common in suburban areas as well. Copperheads are not known for being aggressive towards humans, but caution should still be exercised around them.

Western Cottonmouth

The western cottonmouth, also known as the water moccasin, is a venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found near bodies of water such as swamps, marshes, and streams. Cottonmouths are known for their distinctive white mouth, which they use as a warning display when threatened.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake found in North America, and it is also found in Arkansas. They are easily recognized by their diamond-shaped markings and distinctive rattles at the end of their tail. Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are generally shy and will usually try to avoid confrontation with humans.

Pygmy Rattlesnake

The pygmy rattlesnake is a small venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their small size and distinctive rattle at the end of their tail. Pygmy rattlesnakes are not known for being aggressive towards humans, but caution should still be exercised around them.

Western Wormsnake

The western wormsnake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their small size and worm-like appearance. Western wormsnakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small insects and other invertebrates.

Rough Earthsnake

The rough earthsnake is another non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in moist, wooded areas and are easily recognized by their rough scales. Rough earthsnakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small insects and other invertebrates.

Western Ribbon Snake

The western ribbon snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found near bodies of water such as streams and rivers. Western ribbon snakes are known for their long, slender bodies and distinctive stripes. They are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small fish and insects.

Red Milk Snake

The red milk snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their bright colors and distinctive patterns. Red milk snakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small rodents and other prey.

Glossy Crayfish Snake

The glossy crayfish snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found near bodies of water such as streams and rivers. Glossy crayfish snakes are known for their specialized diet of crayfish, which they catch using their sharp teeth. They are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of crayfish.

Ring-necked Snake

The ring-necked snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their distinctive ring-shaped markings. Ring-necked snakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small insects and other invertebrates.

Scarlet Snake

The scarlet snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their bright colors and distinctive patterns. Scarlet snakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small rodents and other prey.

Prairie Kingsnake

A wild caught prairie kingsnake photographed on an old stump and then released.

The prairie kingsnake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in grassy areas and are easily recognized by

their brownish-yellow color and distinctive black and white stripes. Prairie kingsnakes are known for their ability to kill and eat venomous snakes, making them beneficial to humans in certain situations.

Coachwhip

The coachwhip is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in open areas such as fields and deserts. Coachwhips are known for their long, slender bodies and fast movement. They are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small rodents and other prey.

Rat Snake

The rat snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their long, slender bodies and distinctive patterns. Rat snakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small rodents and other prey.

Eastern Hognose Snake

The eastern hognose snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their distinctive upturned snout. Eastern hognose snakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small rodents and other prey.

Northern Water Snake

The northern water snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found near bodies of water such as streams and rivers. Northern water snakes are known for their ability to swim and their aggressive behavior when threatened. While they are not venomous, caution should still be exercised around them.

Black Racer

The black racer is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their glossy black color and slender bodies. Black racers are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small rodents and other prey.

Queen Snake

The queen snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found near bodies of water such as streams and rivers. Queen snakes are known for their specialized diet of crayfish and can be beneficial by controlling populations of crayfish in certain areas.

Smooth Earthsnake

The smooth earthsnake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their smooth, shiny scales. Smooth earthsnakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small insects and other invertebrates.

Green Snake

The green snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their bright green color and slender bodies. Green snakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small insects and other invertebrates.

Brown Snake

The brown snake is a non-venomous snake found in Arkansas. They are typically found in wooded areas and are easily recognized by their small size and brownish-gray color. Brown snakes are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial by controlling populations of small insects and other invertebrates.

Conclusion

Arkansas is home to a diverse range of snakes, with over 30 different species found in the state. While some of these snakes can be venomous and potentially dangerous, many of them are harmless and can even be beneficial to humans by controlling populations of pests and other prey. By understanding each species and their behaviors, we can coexist with these fascinating creatures in a safe and respectful manner.

FAQs

  1. Are all snakes in Arkansas venomous? No, there are both venomous and non-venomous snakes found in Arkansas.
  2. What is the largest venomous snake found in Arkansas? The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake found in Arkansas.
  3. Are venomous snakes in Arkansas aggressive towards humans? Venomous snakes in Arkansas are generally not aggressive towards humans and will only attack if they feel threatened.
  4. What should I do if I encounter a venomous snake in Arkansas? If you encounter a venomous snake in Arkansas, it is important to give the snake plenty of space and avoid provoking it. Seek professional help if you need to have the snake removed from your property.
  5. Are snakes in Arkansas important for the ecosystem? Yes, snakes in Arkansas play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling populations of pests and other prey, and helping to maintain biodiversity.
  6. In conclusion, understanding the different species of snakes in Arkansas is important for coexisting with these creatures in a safe and respectful manner. By recognizing their behaviors and potential dangers, we can appreciate the important role they play in the ecosystem and ensure their continued survival in the wild.