Common Snakes of Arizona

While not all of the serpents that can be found in and around Arizona limits, here are some of the most common. Even when you believe a snake is non-venomous, never try to handle it unless you are completely sure of the identification.

Venomous snakes of Arizona
Arizona has many venomous snakes compared to the non-venomous. Most of them are pit vipers and rattlesnakes. Some of the most common include:

  • Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
  • Sonoran Sidewinder
  • Speckled Rattlesnake
  • Black tailed Rattlesnake
  • Mojave Rattlesnake
Most of them are not widespread in the whole of Arizona but can be found in particular areas. They vary in coloration and even some have horn like organs above their eyes. The Sonoran side winder has its own unique form of movement-sidewinding. They are also adapted to different environments like mountains, deserts, sand, and rocky paces. Others in this category include: Sonoran Coral snake, Tiger Rattlesnake, Grand Canyon Rattlesnake, Tropical vine snake, Night Snake etc.

Black-necked Garter snake and Coach whip
The black-necked garter snake is because of their large blotches on either side of their neck. It is a semi-aquatic variant and is usually found near a water bodies. As a defense mechanism, they will bite, defecate, and then discharge a foul smelling musk.Their young are live- born and they have an average length of 41 - 117 cm. Coach Whip is a long, slender snake and the most common is solid black in color. They are extremely swift moving and quickly seizetheir prey and swallowthem live. If held, it becomes aggressive and may strike and bite repeatedly until freed. Total length91 - 260 cm.

Common King snake and Glossy Snake
The Common King snake majorly inhabits deserts to forests to riparian areas. It is a dark brown/blackish snake with narrow bands of white or yellow in the Sonoran Desert. They are opportunistic feeders and highly tolerant or immune to rattlesnake venom. They feed on other snakes, eggs, birds, lizards and frogs. They can grow to 216cm. the glossy snakes have a shiny smooth skin which varies in color from pinkish gray to brown. There suitable habitat include sandy places. This snake is a sturdy burrower, comprehensive with a countersunk lower jaw to avoid sand from getting in its mouth. They constrict their prey or swallow it live.

Gopher snake and Long-nosed Snake
Long-nosed are usually blotched or banded with black, red, and white. They writhes and twists their bodies and then defecate to discourage predation. Gophers are the longest snakes in the west. When disturbed, they will put on a defensive drill: coil up, flatten their head into a diamond shape while hissing loudly. They then shake their tail, to seem and sound like a venomous rattlesnake.

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