A-z - Animals

96 Snakes Found in Texas (14 Venomous!)

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key point:

  • There are 96 snakes in Texas, 14 of which are venomous.
  • Most species found in Texas are harmless to humans.
  • Sizes range from one foot all the way up to eight feet long!

There's an old saying " everything is bigger in Texas". The phrase also covers the state's snake population, as Texas has more snake species than any other state.

This is due to its incredible size, but also because Texas is home to habitats ranging from dry deserts to coastal waters that support everything from water snakes to rattlesnakes to the harmless garter snake. Created an ideal habitat.

We counted 96 different types of snakes (species and subspecies) found in Texas. We'll start with the non-venomous common snake, then the water snake, and finally the venomous snake you'll find in the state. By the end of this article, you'll be able to identify many of the most common and dangerous snakes found in the Lone Star State.

let's start!

Common Snakes Found in Texas

Most snakes living in Texas are non-venomous. By our count, you can encounter about 82 snake species in the absence of venom. Most are harmless and will avoid any conflict with humans.

However, they will still bite if cornered or threatened. Let's take a look at some of the more common snakes you may come across. Each one is non-toxic and they range in length from a little over 1 foot to 8 feet!

texas garter snake

texas garter snake
The Texas garter snake has a right side stripe that runs the length of its body with yellow stripes on each side.

© Cathleen Wake Gorbatenko/Shutterstock.com

scientific name scope size
black tailed catfish Most common in grassland and lake areas up to 2 feet 4 inches

The Texas garter snake is a subspecies of the garter snake. Garter snakes are the most common snake species in the country and come in a wide variety. The Texas garter snake looks similar to other garter snakes, is usually only one to two feet long, and is very thin. It has an olive or brown body with two thin yellow stripes along the body.

The Texas garter snake is different in that, in addition to the two yellow stripes, it has a thin red stripe that runs across its entire body. This reptile loves water and is never found too far from ponds or wetlands. While they prefer forests, prairies, and woodlands, they're also not averse to sliding onto your lawn.

Are they poisonous? Yes they are. Thankfully, however, their bites are not fatal as their venom is quite mild.

western hognose snake

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Western hognose snakes have an upturned scale on the tip of their snout that helps them dig into sand and loose soil.

©Bryn Thomas/Shutterstock.com

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Dimetrodon more common in west texas up to 3 feet

Western hognose snakes also like sandy soils, but this species prefers the dry, sandy soils of semi-desert areas.

Texas has a lot of deserts and semi-deserts, so you can find western hognose snakes in most of Texas, although they are less common in the eastern part of the state. Western hognose snakes are usually no more than two feet long, but female snakes can grow up to three feet long.

They have brown, tan, or olive colored bodies with darker marking patches on their backs. What really sets these snakes apart is their nose. You can recognize a hognose snake by its upturned, flat snout. That nose makes it easy for these snakes to burrow into the sand.

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milk snake

best pet snakes
The Louisiana milk snake was spotted after a fall cold front passed through southeast Texas. The common name "milk snake" comes from the mistaken belief that these snakes milk milk.


scientific name scope size
triangular lantern grass 4 subspecies can be found in most of the state up to 3 feet

The milk snake is an imposter that looks like a venomous coral snake. But milk snakes are not poisonous. There are four different types of snakes in Texas that mimic the appearance of coral snakes in an attempt to fool predators. Milk snakes are about 1.5 feet to 2 feet long and have broad bright red stripes all over the body.

The color around the band will tell you if the snake is a milk snake or a venomous coral snake. If the thin band next to the red band is black, it is a milk snake. If those thin bands are yellow, it's a coral snake and you need to be very careful around that snake.

There are four subspecies of milk snakes in Texas (New Mexico, Louisiana, Midlands, and Mexico) that are all similar in appearance but have subtle differences. Milk snakes also look very similar to scarlet kingsnakes, another nonvenomous snake that mimics the appearance of coral snakes.

bull snake

Bullsnake - coiled
bull snake


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Shai Spruce Western 2/3 of the state, not found near the Louisiana border up to 8 feet

The bull snake is one of the largest non-venomous snakes in the country. Some may be nearly eight feet long. The color pattern of the bull snake is very similar to that of the venomous diamondback.

Sometimes, if they are threatened or cornered, bull snakes will flap their tails and rattle, making predators think they are venomous diamondback moths, when in fact they are not. However, bull snakes can still bite or show aggression from time to time, so it is always wise to approach them cautiously or ignore them altogether.

These subspecies of gopher snakes prefer coniferous forests, grasslands, and woodlands. Having them in your backyard isn't necessarily a bad thing. Rats, rats, and even other rattlesnakes tend to be a favorite meal of these reptiles, making them some sort of handy cleanup crew.

yellow belly snake

Young yellow-bellied racing pigeons are spotted, but as they get older they turn olive green.

© Matt Jepsen/Shutterstock.com

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Yellow python Most common in east Texas, but can also be found along the Rio Grande near Big Bend up to 5 feet

As you might have guessed from the name, yellow-bellied race snakes are known for their yellow bellies. However, snakes change radically in appearance as they age. As juveniles (above), they had spots on their bodies. Once they are fully grown, they take on an olive green color.

These snakes are usually about five feet long and very thin. They can be very fast, sometimes moving at 3-4 miles per hour. Yellow-bellied race snakes are also somewhat aggressive, and they will bite. These snakes are not venomous, but any snake bite can be painful and require medical attention, so it is always best to be cautious if you encounter a yellow-bellied race snake.

water snake in texas

Texas has many lakes, especially in its eastern half. Texas has an abundance of rivers, lakes, and swamps, so it's no surprise that Texas has its fair share of water snakes. Water snakes are snakes belonging to the genus Nerodia, which has 10 different species, seven of which live in Texas. Species of water snakes in Texas include:

  • Salt Marsh Snake
  • Mississippi Green Water Snake
  • Flat-bellied Hydra
  • broadband water snake
  • Brazos Water Snake
  • concho water snake
  • rattlesnake water snake

It is important to note that none of these water snakes are venomous. If you see a venomous snake in the water, it's like a cottonmouth, which we'll explore in more detail in the section on venomous snakes. But first, let's look at the water snake, a species that's common across much of Texas.

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rattlesnake water snake

rattlesnake water snake
Rattlesnake water snakes will congregate near water in large groups.

© Laurie L. Snidow/Shutterstock.com

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Diamond Neroli Except for dry counties bordering New Mexico, most of the state up to 6 feet

Rattlesnake water snakes are a common place alongside many slow-moving bodies of water in the state. The snake has reached a maximum size of nearly 6 feet, but is more commonly 3 to 4 feet long. Snakes like to hunt by hanging above the water's surface over rocks or branches and watching fish below the surface. While diamondback moths aren't aggressive — they prefer to escape into the water — their bite can be painful if cornered. This snake is similar in color to the cottonmouth but is non-venomous.

viper in texas

There are many venomous snakes in Texas, but most are rattlesnakes. In addition to several species of rattlesnake, other venomous snakes found in Texas include copperheads, coral snakes, and western cottonmouths. Let's examine each venomous snake, starting with the rattlesnake.

Rattlesnakes in Texas

mojave rattlesnakes
Mojave rattlesnakes typically grow between 3.3 feet and 4.5 feet.

© Creeping Stuff/Shutterstock.com

There are more than 9 different species of rattlesnakes in Texas. Although this may make it look like you are at high risk of being bitten by a rattlesnake in Texas, there are actually relatively few rattlesnake bites each year. According to the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, there are approximately 7,000 venomous snakebites in the United States each year. On average, these bites only result in 5 deaths.

The most important thing you need to remember is that any rattlesnake will make a distinctive rattling sound with its tail. If you hear that rattling noise, stop. Back up slowly. Do not make any sudden movements and get out of the area as soon as possible. This is the best way to prevent rattlesnake bites. Rattlesnake species in Texas are:

  • North American gnome
    • desert gnome
    • western dwarf gnome
  • mojave rattlesnakes
  • prairie rattlesnake
  • rock rattlesnake
    • banded rock rattlesnake
    • porphyry rattlesnake
  • Timber Rattlesnake
  • western rattlesnake
  • western pygmy rattlesnake

Rattlesnakes aren't the only venomous snakes in Texas, though.


Copperhead snake, the weakest animal
There Are Two Copperhead Snakes in Texas

© iStock.com/David Kenny

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anti-snake Not found in the Panhandle and South Texas plains up to 4 feet

Copperheads are well camouflaged, and when you're on the plains or semi-desert of Texas, you can look right at the snake without even seeing it. Chances are you'll hear it before you see it. These snakes love the Texas semi-desert and the hot sandy soil of Texas. If you are walking or riding in the semi-desert or desert, it is important to watch your step or your horse's as there are likely to be copperheads nearby.

There are two species of copperhead snakes in the state. Eastern Copperhead ( Agkistrodon contortrix ) and the brown-banded copperhead ( Agkistrodon laticinctus) . The brown-banded copperhead, sometimes called the Texas copperhead, is more widespread statewide, extending into the Big Bend area of West Texas.

In contrast, the eastern copperhead only lives in the eastern third of the state. It's important to note that while copperheads are not aggressive, they are often more likely to be stepped on or disturbed than other venomous snakes due to their incredible camouflage. For this reason, more copperheads are bitten by any other snake in the United States.

coral snake

Coral snakes are brightly colored and have distinctive stripes

© iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

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cuttlefish Not found in the high plateaus and mountains around El Paso up to 4 feet

Coral snakes are extremely brightly colored and often stand out. Several snakes in Texas imitate the coloration of coral snakes, but true coral snakes have broad red stripes surrounded by thin yellow stripes. Look for yellow bands, and if you see them, back off as slowly as possible to avoid irritating the snake.

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While coral snakes can grow up to 4 feet long, most only grow to about half that size. Instead of attacking their victims with fangs, they chew their prey to release their venom. Although dangerous, fatalities from this snake are extremely rare.

west cottonmouth

cottonmouth snake
cottonmouth snake

© Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com

scientific name scope size
Fish-eating Agkistrodon Most common in the eastern half of the state near water up to 5 feet

Cottonmouth snakes are also sometimes called water buckskin snakes. They are aquatic and live near or in water, so you can only find them near lakes and rivers or in certain areas along the coast. Cottonmouths are long and usually dark olive green or black in color.

The main way to identify a cottonmouth is by looking at the mouth. If there is a white spot under the chin or on the sides of the mouth, it is a cottonmouth. In addition, the cottonmouth has an arrowhead-shaped head with dimples under the eyes, which the similar-looking snake (the water snake) does not have.

Although these snakes can grow up to five feet, they are usually closer to two to three feet. When threatened, they usually open their jaws to reveal a very white mouth, hence the name "cotton mouth".

Complete List of 96 Snakes in Texas

Snake populations in Texas are forever changing. One, the snake moved into a new territory and at the same time became extinct from the state. Furthermore, the process of determining which snakes are their own distinct species and not "just" a subspecies of another snake is a field of debate and flux.

However, one thing is clear: Texas has more snake species than any other state in the United States. Below, we've compiled a list of 96 different snake species that can be found in Texas. Of these, 82 were non-toxic , while 14 of them were toxic and deserved additional attention. For each snake, we batch them under the species they belong to if they are subspecies.

82 non-venomous snakes in Texas

  • Baird rat snake
  • Big Bent Blackhead Snake
  • Great Curved Nose Snake
  • black snake
  • black-necked garter snake
  • blind snake
    • Plains Blind Snake
    • Trans-Pecos Winking Snake
    • new mexico blind snake
  • Brazos Water Snake
  • broadband water snake
  • Bullsnake (gopher snake)
  • Checkered Garter Snake
  • whip snake
    • Oriental whip snake
    • western whip snake
  • common garter snake
    • texas garter snake
    • new mexican garter snake
  • concho water snake
  • crayfish snake
  • Decay's Brown Snake
    • swamp brown snake
    • texas brown snake
  • desert king snake
  • rattlesnake water snake
  • Oriental hognose snake
  • flat headed snake
  • smooth snake
    • Kansas smooth snake
    • texas smooth snake
    • Painted Desert Glossy Snake
  • Graham's Crawfish Snake
  • King Gray Snake
  • ground snake
  • blue snake
    • Texas Indigo Snake
  • Proboscis
  • Louisiana pine snake
  • Mexican Blackhead Snake
  • Mexican hognose snake
  • Mexican hook-nosed snake
  • milk snake
    • Central Plains Milk Snake
    • mexican milk snake
    • louisiana milk snake
    • new mexican milk snake
  • Mississippi Green Water Snake
  • mud snake
  • northern cat eye snake
  • Flat-bellied Hydra
  • plain black snake
  • plains garter snake
  • Prairie King Snake
  • racer
    • mexican racer
    • southern black racer
    • Buttermilk Racer
    • tan racer
    • eastern yellow belly racing pigeon
  • rat snake
    • corn snake
    • Great Plains Rat Snake
  • red belly snake
  • ring necked snake
    • Emperor Ring-necked Snake
    • Mississippi Ring Neck Sank
    • Prairie ring neck snake
  • rough green snake
  • Salt Marsh Snake
  • scarlet snake
    • Texas Scarlet Snake
    • Northern Scarlet Snake
  • short whip snake
  • Slowinki's Corn Snake
  • smooth ground snake
  • smooth green snake
  • Southwest Blackhead Snake
  • spotted king snake
  • spotted racer
  • whip snake
  • Texas Lyre Snake
  • Texas snake
  • Texas Night Snake
  • Texas Spotted Snake
  • Trans-Pecos rat snake
  • western hognose snake
  • western hook-nosed snake
  • Western rat snake
    • Texas rat snake
  • western band snake
    • dry land snake
    • gulf coast ribbon snake
    • red striped snake
  • western worm snake

14 Venomous Snakes in Texas

  • black tailed rattlesnake
  • Brown-banded copperhead
  • cotton mouth
  • Eastern Copperhead
  • North American gnome
    • desert gnome
    • western dwarf gnome
  • mojave rattlesnakes
  • prairie rattlesnake
  • rock rattlesnake
    • banded rock rattlesnake
    • porphyry rattlesnake
  • Texas Coral Snake
  • Timber Rattlesnake
  • western rattlesnake
  • western pygmy rattlesnake

Other Reptiles Spotted in Texas

green chameleon
Lizards like Green Anole do "push-ups" to attract mates.

© victoria.schell/Shutterstock.com

Texas is known for its diverse wildlife, from the majestic American alligator to the elusive Texas horned lizard. Within this rich biome, Texas is home to a wide variety of reptiles that have adapted to the state's unique climate and landscape.

From the colorful and swift green chameleon to the spiky and terrifying Texas spiny lizard, Texas reptiles come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique traits and behaviors.

Here is a list of other reptiles found in Texas:

  • chameleon:
    • Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)
    • Brown Chameleon (Anolis sagrei)
  • Spiny Lizard:
    • Texas Spiny Lizard (Sceloperus olivaceus)
  • Alligator Lizard:
    • Texas Alligator Lizard (Gerrhonotus infernalis)
    • Legless and Alligator Lizards (Anguidae)
  • Collared and Leopard Lizards:
    • Collared lizards and leopard lizards (Crotaphytidae)
  • Eyelid Gecko:
    • Eyelid Geckos (Eublepharidae)

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