Snakes In Utah

Utah is home to 31 distinct species of snakes, and as a result, many people refer to it as snake or rattlesnake country. There are venomous and non-venomous species among these more than thirty different species and subspecies.

Since they are all non-game species, hunting and collecting them are prohibited. Only with a unique license given by the state is it possible to own a wild snake in Utah.

Utah is home to several non-venomous snakes. The ones that have keratin-based unique tail ends that rattle and act as a warning indication are rattlesnakes, which are poisonous. The Colubridae family comprises the majority of Utah’s non-venomous snake species. Continue reading to learn more about both!

Venomous Snakes in Utah

Rattlesnakes make up the bulk of the poisonous snakes in Utah. Their eye pupils are vertical and they have triangular heads. They also have rattles on their tails, as their name would imply, and they rattle loudly and clearly.

Great Basin Rattlesnake

The great basin rattlesnake is one of the several kinds of rattlesnakes that may be found in Utah. This species may be found in a variety of environments in western Utah. Although they mostly live on the ground, they can occasionally ascend into trees and bushes.

They are poisonous, but they mostly utilize them for hunting. They have darker streaks going along their back and are a light tank or yellow color.

Great Prairie Rattlesnake

With a maximum length of 3.3 feet, this rattlesnake is a large one (1m). They can be found in Southeast Utah, however it’s better to avoid them because they are quite poisonous.

Rattlesnakes are extremely difficult to tell apart by sex, although as a general rule, males have longer tails than females. The females might lay as many as 20 eggs when mating season begins.

This species lives on land, but when they need to ambush their prey, they can climb trees. They often chew their meal slowly and take only one bite.

Hopi Rattlesnake

The Hopi Rattlesnake, commonly known as the Arizona Prairie Rattlesnake, is a subspecies of the Prairie Rattlesnake. The Hopi tribe of Native Americans, who also live in the area, gave them their name.

Only in the far southeast of Utah, on desert plateaus, can one find these poisonous snakes. Even at altitudes of up to 9500 feet, they are to be found!

During the winter, the Prairie Rattlesnake hibernates, frequently in group dens. Usually, these dens are caves, rock fissures, or former animal burrows. Each winter, each snake will return to the same cave, and in the spring, each snake will travel up to seven kilometers to its hunting grounds.

These snakes will freeze when they sense danger and attempt to hide by disguising themselves. They could also stealthily creep away to hide. They may coil and rattle their tail to warn off an approaching predator before charging. Although uncommon, its strong venom, which possesses hemotoxic and neurotoxic effects, may be lethal to an adult person.

The ICUN Red List classifies prairie rattlesnakes as a species of least concern. However, in some areas of their range, they are regarded as endangered and decreasing. Hunting and habitat fragmentation have put strain on them.

Sidewinder

The popular name for this kind of rattlesnake comes from the way it moves. The sidewinder glides sideways incredibly swiftly and bends its body in a S form, unlike other snakes. This is a really efficient way to move along sand, which is undoubtedly useful for a snake living in a desert environment.

The sidewinder also travels in this manner to shield itself from heat. Sand may get rather hot, but sidewinding makes sure that the snake only ever touches the ground with two points of its body at a time.

The sidewinder’s horns are another feature that sets it apart (which earned the species its other common name, the horned rattlesnake). These protruding scales are really supraocular (above the eye) horns. They serve to shield the snake’s eyes from the sun and sand.

Midget Faded Rattlesnake

Another kind of rattlesnake, however this one is mostly found in eastern Utah. Although they mostly live on the ground, they may also climb up trees and bushes. They frequently gather in huge groups, particularly in the winter months.

They resemble other rattlesnakes and are poisonous. Both their rattle and the darker splotches on their back are frequently quite distinctive.

Mojave Green Rattlesnake

The most poisonous snake in the world is the Mojave Green Rattlesnake. Its ability to discharge venom even when it has long since died is terrifying. The venom typically takes some time to take effect, providing people a false sense of security.

This species inhabits the southwest region of Utah and thrives in arid and mountainous terrain. This snake is distinguishable by its green hue and back patches that resemble black diamonds.

The warmer months of April through September are when this snake is most active; the rest of the year, it hibernates.

Terrestrial Garter Snake

Even skilled herpetologists run into problems! There are thought to be six subspecies, however experts continue to argue this, and its colour varies greatly.

Grasslands and woodlands are two of the many environments used by terrestrial garter snakes. Even in hilly regions up to 13,000 feet above sea level, they can be found. They are mainly found on land, as their name indicates. Interesting yet, these garter snakes can swim really well!

The only garter snake species in Utah that has a propensity to restrict prey is this one! The majority of garter snakes rapidly snare their food and just devour it, occasionally rubbing it against the ground.

Although they are not aggressive or dangerous, terrestrial garter snakes do have saliva that contains a small amount of venom. It could even damage some muscle tissue or infect the muscles. Human bites often only result in minor swelling and discomfort.

Speckled Rattlesnake

The American doctor Silas Weir Mitchell is credited with giving the speckled rattlesnake its name. The species comes in a range of hues that often match its environment. The tail has black rings, and the back is covered with dark blotches and speckles.

This species is nocturnal during the warmer months and diurnal during the winter ones, just like the prairie rattlesnake. It like rough terrain with lots of hiding spots. It consumes lizards, birds, and small mammals like mice.

The southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico are the major distribution areas for Mitchell’s rattlesnakes. It lives on several islands in the Gulf of California and is widespread in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. The species can be found in Utah’s far southern regions.

Black-Necked Garter Snake

The black-necked garter snake is one of numerous varieties of garter snakes that may be found in Utah. This is one of the more uncommon subspecies, nevertheless.

It may be identified thanks to two sizable black dots on the back of its skull.

Since their main food supply dwells near water, they are frequently spotted there. From April through October, they are most active.

Speckled Rattlesnake

The American doctor Silai Weir Mitchell is honored with the name of the Speckled Rattlesnake. Typically, this species has colour that blends in with its surroundings. It has dark spots and rings on its back and dark rings on its tail.

It may hide in a variety of places since it can be found in the rocky parts of Southwest Utah. This species consumes lizards, birds, and mice for food.

Valley Garter Snake

Valley Garter Snakes may be found in a variety of environments, such as rocky terrain, fields, marshes, woodlands, and scrubland. They are very highly suited to living with people and are frequently seen in cities.

These snakes may be found in northern Utah hiding beneath rocks, logs, and other things that serve as both cover and thermostats. Below the frost line, they hibernate throughout the winter, frequently in groups. They will utilize a range of subterranean cavities, including ant mounds, foundations, cisterns, mammal and crayfish burrows, rock fissures, and crayfish and ant tunnels.

Valley garter snakes are strong swimmers and attempt to swim away when startled. In the event that they are trapped, be ready for them to spray musk and dung on your hands! If they feel really threatened, they may also attack.

The Valley Garter Snake is regarded as a low-risk species. They are fairly widespread and do well in environments that humans have altered. However, they commonly perish on roads and occasionally do so as a result of fear.

Sonora Mountain Kingsnake

Recognizing the Sonora mountain kingsnake is not too difficult. It has a black head and a white to yellow snout. Rings that rotate between red and white cover the whole body.

The white circles are surrounded by a distinct black border as well. The species has additional protection against predators in addition to its vibrant hues. It emits a stench that is highly unpleasant.

The Sonora mountain kingsnake is one of several kingsnakes that are known to consume other snakes. Furthermore, because they are totally resistant to the poison, they frequently prey on venomous snake species.

They consume mammals, lizards, and other small animals in addition to snakes as food. By biting and strangling its target, the Sonora king snake subdues it.

The Arizona kingsnake brumates throughout the winter, just as many other snake species in Utah. There are variances even though this condition and hibernation are extremely similar.

Brumation is often not as “deep” a condition as hibernation. For instance, the snake will truly “wake up” if a day in the dead of winter is abnormally warm.

Ring-Necked Snake

Native to Utah, the species is mostly found in the state’s central regions. Although they are not extremely common, encountering them is not unusual.

They have a belly that is extraordinarily brilliant orange or yellow and are grey or deeper in hue. Many do have neckbands that are the same color, therefore their name. Not all of them, though, do. It is absent from certain people.

Although they may be found in many settings, they do prefer to be near water. They are nocturnal and elusive, so few people happen across them.

Rubber Boa

Because of its glistening scales, the Rubber Boa truly has a rubber-like appearance and tactile sensation. Their bellies will be a lighter tint, and they might be brown or gray in color.

This snake prefers the cold over the heat. At 54°F (12°C), they can survive. They tend to hide beneath rocks and vegetation because they are a shy species. They are often kept as pets, and occasionally they are used to assist individuals get over their phobia of snakes.

Black-necked Garter Snake

Western Black-necked Garter Snakes are dark olive in color with a yellow to white stripe running down each side and an orange-yellow stripe down the back. Its maximum length is 42 inches.

The maximum length of an Eastern Black-necked Garter Snake is only 20 inches. Between their three stripes, they have a black and yellow checkered pattern on their body.
Both subspecies have a gray skull that stands out dramatically from their bodies. On each side of the neck, there is a black spot as well.

Southeast Utah is home to a variety of habitats for this species, including pine-oak forests, dry grasslands, and desert scrub. They are frequently connected to bodies of water like streams, ciénegas, and livestock tanks.

This snake has both a Western and an Eastern subspecies. They have distinctive behaviors in addition to having varied appearances (see photo above). Water snakes of the Western subspecies (Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis) are most frequently seen in bodies of water. The Eastern subspecies of thammophis loves to reside on DRY LAND that is quite close to water.

Frogs, toads, and tadpoles, especially venomous species like the Sonoran Desert Toad, are the Black-necked Garter Snake’s favored prey. They have been seen to consume a variety of different animals, such as birds, earthworms, skinks, salamanders, crustaceans, and skinks.

Striped Whipsnake

Whip snakes got their name from their whip-like, long, thin bodies. You guessed it: stripes are another characteristic of the striped whipsnake. Its body is covered in three light-colored lines, one on each side and one on its back. Darker, often a shade of grey or brown, makes up the foundation color.

The whipsnake can move swiftly over a variety of terrain because to its long, slender body. The species lives in rocky terrain, coniferous and deciduous woods, shrub- and grassland habitats, and canyons. Basically, the striped whipsnake will survive anywhere it can find a place to hide and eat.

Speaking of food, the species consumes insects, birds, small mammals (often rodents), reptiles (such as lizards and other snakes), and reptiles. They will either ambush or stalk their prey before rapidly attacking it before it can even respond.

Coachwhip

Only in the state’s southwest may you use a coachwhip. They are renowned for their ability to endure hot conditions, which enables them to continue being active for the most of the day. They favor wide, dry ground.

They are frequently found in agricultural, desert, and grassland regions.

The spring and summer are when they are most active. They find shelter in abandoned rodent tunnels throughout the winter.

Desert Night Snake

The Desert Night Snake, as its name suggests, dwells in desert environments with hiding places among rocks. They are excellent nocturnal predators who target lizards, scorpions, and other tiny creatures.

Although they are barely poisonous, they are safe for humans. When frightened, these snakes just roll up into a ball instead of attacking humans.

California Kingsnake

In many different types of environments in southern Utah, these snakes are common.

You may find them in suburban areas, meadows, deserts, and even in the woods! The most of the year, these California Kingsnakes are spotted during the day, with the exception of the winter months when they retreat underground and go into a state similar to hibernation known as brumation.

It alludes to their capacity to pursue and consume other snakes! Amazingly, deadly rattlesnakes will even be pursued by California Kingsnakes.

This species has an amazing adaption that allows it to choke its victim. In actuality, considering their body size, California Kingsnakes have the tightest squeeze. Since their primary diet consists of other reptiles, which don’t need as much oxygen as mammals do, it is believed that they evolved this feature.

Night Snake

Night snakes typically have lighter saddle-shaped spots on a light gray or brown background. A deeper shade of brown also characterizes the triangular head. Typically, the belly’s ventral side ranges from cream to white in hue. Male and female night snakes can differ in length by up to three times.

The night snake has a little amount of venom. It controls scorpions, lizards, salamanders, and other prey with the use of this moderate poison. They could even consume already-dead animals. It is believed that people are not at risk from the poison.

The night snake spends the daytime in hiding from predators while hunting at night. They are a preferred food item for many raptors, including owls and hawks. They may also be hunted by other snakes and several kinds of nocturnal mammals.

Conclusion

Snakes come in many different varieties in Utah. The majority of them are safe. Actually, the only genuinely deadly snakes are the many types of rattlesnakes. A small number of them do, but not in significant quantities.

Rattlesnakes may be recognized pretty easily. Other snakes in the area don’t look like these.

It’s vital to note that Utah is not the natural home of the western coral snake. This poisonous snake is similar to other snakes. However, none of the comparable snakes in Utah are poisonous.