Family: Crotalidae (Pitvipers)

Genera: Agkistrodon (American Moccasins), Crotalus (Rattlesnakes), and Sistrurus (Massasauga and Pygmy Rattlesnakes)

Southern Copperhead
Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix

Venomous! Tan with darker brown hourglass-shaped bands. Bands sometimes thinly bordered with white. Belly mostly patternless, but sometimes with lower spots between bands extending onto belly. Heat-sensing pits. Pupils elliptical. Juveniles with bright yellow tail.  

Western Cottonmouth
Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma

Venomous! Aquatic. Black or with dark, obscured patterning. Dark stripe from nostril to neck. Labial scales lighter and without vertical bars. Heat-sensing pits. Pupils elliptical. May gape white "cotton mouth" when disturbed. Buoyant swimmer. Juveniles with bold pattern contrast and bright yellowish-green tail.  

Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
Crotalus atrox

Venomous! Mottled brown, tan, and black with large, roughly diamond-shaped middorsal blotches. Blotches thinly etched with white except toward tail. Heat-sensing pits. Eyes elliptical and between light, diagonal stripes. "Coon tail" with rattle. Audio Special Status

Timber Rattlesnake
Crotalus horridus

Venomous! Grayish, yellowish, or light brown background with dark, jagged crossbands and rust-colored middorsal stripe. Head with darker band from eye to jawline (less obvious in some individuals). Heat-sensing pits. Eyes elliptical. "Velvet tail" with rattle.  

Western Pygmy Rattlesnake
Sistrurus miliarius streckeri

Venomous! Smallish. Gray with black crossbands and rust-colored middorsal stripe. Crossbands usually incomplete with gaps along sides of body. Head boldly patterned. Heat-sensing pits. Eyes elliptical. Diminutive rattle.  

Family: Elapidae (Coralsnakes, Cobras, and Kraits)

Genus: Micrurus (American Coralsnakes)

Texas Gulf-Coast Coralsnake
Micrurus tener tener

Venomous! Rare. Alternating black, red, and yellow bands so that "red touches yellow". Bands extend onto belly. Red bands often with specks of black. Snout all black and stubby with next band being yellow. Special Status

Family: Colubridae (Harmless Egg-Laying Snakes)

Genera: Cemophora (Scarletsnakes), Coluber (North American Racers, Coachwhips, and Whipsnakes), Lampropeltis (Kingsnakes), Opheodrys (Greensnakes), Pantherophis (North American Ratsnakes), Sonora (North American Groundsnakes), and Tantilla (Black-headed, Crowned, and Flat-headed Snakes)

Northern Scarletsnake
Cemophora coccinea copei

Rare. Red touches black. Alternating black, red, and light-colored bands or blotches. Light-colored bands vary by individual from gray, to cream, to light orange. Head red. Snout sharply pointed. Belly uniform cream. Special Status

North American Racer
Coluber constrictor ssp.

Long, slender, and speedy. Uniform black, dark gray, or olive (rarely with speckling of lighter scales). Labial scales, chin, and neck usually lighter. Belly yellowish, cream, or black and unmarked. Juveniles blotched, fading to uniform olive toward tail.  
Subspecies: Buttermilk Racer (C. c. anthicus) Special Status, Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer (C. c. flaviventris), Black-masked Racer (C. c. latrunculus), and Southern Black Racer (C. c. priapus)

Eastern Coachwhip
Coluber flagellum flagellum

Long, large, and speedy. Head and 1/3 of body black, changing to brown "leather whip" appearance toward tail (rare individuals are all black). Belly usually pinkish and mostly unmarked. Juveniles with irregular dark crossbars, fading to uniform tan toward tail.  

Prairie Kingsnake
Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster

Brown with alternating, dark brown blotches (patterning is obscured in some individuals). Blotches thinly bordered with black. Head smallish. Belly with irregular checkerboard of brown and tan, sometimes with specks of orange. Juveniles like adults but with more contrast.  

Speckled Kingsnake
Lampropeltis holbrooki

Black with yellowish specks (usually one per scale). Belly with black and yellowish checkerboard pattern. Juveniles with more chainlike pattern.  

Lampropeltis triangulum ssp.

Red touches black. Alternating black, red, and light-colored bands or blotches. Light-colored bands vary by individual from gray, to cream, to light orange. Head variable but almost never all black. Snout rounded. Belly with checkerboard pattern.  
Subspecies: Louisiana Milksnake (L. t. amaura) Special Status and Red Milksnake (L. t. syspila)

Northern Rough Greensnake
Opheodrys aestivus aestivus

Mostly arboreal. Pencil-thin. Uniform green. Long tail. Belly light green, cream, or yellowish.  

Great Plains Ratsnake
Pantherophis emoryi

Grayish-brown with large, alternating, dark brown blotches. Blotches often bordered with black. Spearhead-shaped mark on head. Belly with irregular checkerboard of black and white, similar to maize. Juveniles like adults with black bar through eye extending past jawline onto neck. Special Status

Western Ratsnake
Pantherophis obsoletus

Large. Mostly black, often with specks of cream or pink between scales. Labial scales, chin, and neck cream. Belly with irregular checkerboard of black and white. Juveniles gray with dark blotches and a black bar that runs through eye to jawline.  

Slowinski's Cornsnake
Pantherophis slowinskii

Rare and potentially extirpated from AR. Grayish-brown with large, alternating, dark blotches. Blotches often bordered with black. "Spearhead" mark on head. Belly with irregular checkerboard of black and white, similar to maize.  

Variable Groundsnake
Sonora semiannulata semiannulata

Rare with very few vouchered specimens in AR. Small. Fossorial. Glade-dweller. Highly variable (uniform tan with faint reddish stripe, or with one neck crossbar, or with dark crossbars running the length of the body, etc.). Belly uniform cream. Special Status

Flat-headed Snake
Tantilla gracilis

Extremely small. Fossorial. Glade-dweller. Uniform tan. Head pointed and darker. Belly salmon-colored.  

Family: Dipsadidae (Rear-Fanged Snakes)

Genera: Carphophis (North American Wormsnakes), Diadophis (Ring-necked Snakes), Farancia (Mudsnakes and Rainbow Snakes), and Heterodon (North American Hog-nosed Snakes)

Midwestern Wormsnake
Carphophis amoenus helenae

Rare. Small. Fossorial. Uniform brown (grayish-blue during shed cycles). Belly uniform pale pink, extending onto 2 dorsal scale rows. Special Status

Western Wormsnake
Carphophis vermis

Small. Fossorial. Uniform black (grayish-blue during shed cycles). Belly uniform bright pink, extending onto 2-3 dorsal scale rows.  

Ring-necked Snake
Diadophis punctatus ssp.

Small. Fossorial. Uniform gray or black except for yellow ring around neck. Belly yellow (shifting to red under tail), usually with variable pattern of black dots.  
Subspecies: Prairie Ring-necked Snake (D. p. arnyi) and Mississippi Ring-necked Snake (D. p. stictogenys)

Western Mudsnake
Farancia abacura reinwardtii

Aquatic. Large-bodied. Black and shiny. Belly with red bands that extend onto sides.  

Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
Heterodon platirhinos

Highly variable, with morphs either "solid" or "blotched". Thick-bodied. Strongly upturned snout. Primitive dark "eye spots" on neck (obscured in darker individuals). Exaggerated defensive display of flattening neck and body, hissing, and finally playing dead. Juveniles always boldly blotched.  

Family: Natricidae (Harmless Live-Bearing Snakes)

Genera: Nerodia (North American Watersnakes), Regina (Crayfish Snakes), Storeria (North American Brownsnakes), Thamnophis (North American Gartersnakes), Tropidoclonion (Lined Snakes), and Virginia (North American Earthsnakes)

Mississippi Green Watersnake
Nerodia cyclopion

Rare. Aquatic. Greenish-brown color. Belly with cream half-circles. Subocular scales. Special Status

Plain-bellied Watersnake
Nerodia erythrogaster

Aquatic. Plain brown, sometimes with faint crossbars. Belly uniform yellow. Juveniles blotched with dark spots on neck alternating with dorsal blotches.  

Broad-banded Watersnake
Nerodia fasciata confluens

Aquatic. Broad, irregular, dark crossbands. Background usually orangish. Belly light with irregular checkerboard of redish rectangles.  

Northern Diamond-backed Watersnake
Nerodia rhombifer rhombifer

Aquatic. Net-like pattern. Belly with dark half-circles.  

Midland Watersnake
Nerodia sipedon pleuralis

Aquatic. Dark dorsal bands toward head becoming checkerboard toward tail. Individual variation in band and background color: browns, tans, reds, and yellows. Belly mottled with dark crescents.  

Graham's Crayfish Snake
Regina grahamii

Rare. Aquatic. Plain brown with a faint middorsal stripe and thick lateral stripes. Belly usually uniform cream. Special Status

Gulf Crayfish Snake
Regina rigida sinicola

Rare. Aquatic. Plain brown. Belly yellow (extending just onto sides) with 2 rows of dark half-circles. Special Status

Regina septemvittata

Rare. Aquatic. Plain grayish brown with pale yellow stripe just above belly. Belly with 2 rows of dark spots, more distinct near neck. Special Status

Midland Brownsnake
Storeria dekayi wrightorum

Small. Fossorial. Coloration variable (browns, tans, and grays) with short crossbars connecting two rows of dots. Dark spots below eye and on temporal region. Belly cream.  

Red-bellied Snake
Storeria occipitomaculata ssp.

Small. Fossorial. Coloration variable (browns, tans, and grays), usually with middorsal stripe and rows of fine dots running lengthwise. Pale spots on neck. Belly red (in most individuals).  
Subspecies: Florida Red-bellied Snake (S. o. obscura) and Northern Red-bellied Snake (S. o. occipitomaculata)

Orange-striped Ribbonsnake
Thamnophis proximus proximus

Three stripes of yellow, orange, or sometimes bluish. Background color black. Labial scales uniform cream. White spot just in front of eye. Parietal spots on head large and touching. Belly unmarked.  

Common Gartersnake
Thamnophis sirtalis ssp.

Three stripes of yellow or orange. Background color variable and sometimes checkerboard in appearance. Black bars between labial scales. Belly mostly patternless, but with some black specks.  
Subspecies: Red-sided Gartersnake (T. s. parietalis) and Eastern Gartersnake (T. s. sirtalis)

Lined Snake
Tropidoclonion lineatum

Rare. Three light stripes on brown background. Belly with double row of half-circles. Special Status

Rough Earthsnake
Virginia striatula

Small. Fossorial. Plain brown. Belly uniform light tan. Dorsal scales strongly keeled. 5 supralabial scales, 1 postocular scale, and 1 internasal scale.  

Western Smooth Earthsnake
Virginia valeriae elegans

Small. Fossorial. Plain brown with very faint middorsal stripe. Belly uniform light yellow. Dorsal scales weekly keeled. 6 supralabial scales, 2 postocular scales, and 2 internasal scales.  

~ Potential Occurrence ~

Rare with no vouchered specimen for AR. Blotched and dusty in appearance. Thick-bodied. Strongly upturned snout. Belly mostly black. Exaggerated defensive display of flattening neck and body, hissing, and finally playing dead.  
Rare with no vouchered specimen for AR. Very large and powerfully built. Tan to yellowish background with dark blotches. Blotches become more regular and banded toward tail. Dark line from eye to jawline. Can hiss loudly.  

~ Unidentified ~

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Page last modified on December 31, 2013, at 12:02 AM