SNAKES OF NORTH AMERICA

SNAKES OF NORTH AMERICA

FAMILY LEPTOTYPHLOPIDAE (SLENDER BLIND SNAKES)

This family of snakes is composed of 50 species in two families. They are generally regarded as the most primitive snakes, having a pelvic girdle and vestigial hind limbs. They have a single lung and oviduct and are well adapted to their burrowing lifestyle. They feed exclusively on small invertebrates such as ant and termite larvae. Leptotyphlopids are oviparous. There are two species of this family in North America.

Leptotyphlops Dulcis   Texas Blind Snake
Leptotyphlops humilis   Western Blind Snake

FAMILY BOIDAE (BOAS AND PYTHONS)

Boidae is a large family of snakes that includes all five of the world’s giant snakes. Boids are an ancient family that is characterized by a mixture of modern and primitive traits. They have flexible jaws found in more advanced families but also retain a pelvic girdle, vestigial hind limbs, and many uses both lungs. While there are close to one hundred species of Boids worldwide, there are only two species of boas found in North America, both in the sub-family Eryciniae.

Charina bottae   Rubber Boa
Lichanura trivirgata   Rosy Boa

COLUBRIDAE (COLUBRID SNAKES)

The Colubrid snakes are sometimes referred to as “typical snakes.” They comprise the largest family by far with over 2000 species worldwide. Most are medium-sized snakes, and all lack a pelvic girdle and have no vestigial hind limbs and whose left lung is either absent or greatly reduced. Most species are considered members of two large subfamilies, Colubrinae and Natricinae which are distinguished by the presence (Natricinae) or absence (Colubrinae) of spines on the lumbar vertebrae. Both subfamilies contain over 200 genera. The Colubrinae subfamily includes two of the general popular with Herpetoculturists, Elaphe, and Lampropeltis. The Natricinae subfamily includes water snakes (Nerodia) and garter snakes (Thamnophis) among others. With a family this large, there will always be disagreements about classification, especially regarding the numbers and types of subspecies. This list includes 102 species of Colubrid snakes found in North America. Subspecies are not included in this scheme. Other lists may vary.

Arizona elegans   Glossy Snake
Bogertophis Rosaliae   Baja California Rat Snake
Bogertophis Subocularis   Trans-Pecos Rat Snake
Carphophis amoenus   Worm Snake
Cemophora Coccinea   Scarlet Snake
Chilomeniscus cinctus   Banded Sand Snake
Chionactis occipitalis   Western Shovelnose Snake
Chionactis Palarostris   Sonoran Shovelnose Snake
Clonophis Kirtlandii   Kirtland’s Snake
Coluber constrictor   Racer
Coniophanes Imperialis   Black-striped Snake
Contia tenuis   Sharptail Snake
Diadophis Punctatus   Ringneck Snake
Drymarchon corais   Indigo Snake
Drymobius Margaritiferus   Speckled Racer
Elaphe Bairdii   Baird’s Rat Snake
Elaphe Emoryi   Emory’s Rat Snake
Elaphe guttata   Corn Snake
Elaphe obsoleta   Common Rat Snake
Elaphe Slowinskii   Slowinski’s Corn Snake
Elaphe Vulpina   Fox Snake
Farancia Abacura   Mud Snake
Farancia Erytrogramma   Rainbow Snake
Ficimia Streckeri   Mexican Hooknose Snake
Gyalopion Canum   Western Hooknose Snake
Gyalopion Quadrangulare   Desert Hooknose Snake
Heterodon Nasicus   Western Hognose Snake
Heterodon Platirhinos   Eastern Hognose Snake | Picture 2
Heterodon Simus   Southern Hognose Snake
Hypsiglena torquata   Night Snake
Lampropeltis   Kingsnake species and sub-species
Lampropeltis Alterna   Gray-banded Kingsnake
Lampropeltis Calligaster   Prairie Kingsnake
Lampropeltis Getula   Common Kingsnake
Lampropeltis Pyromelana   Sonora Mountain Kingsnake
Lampropeltis triangulum   Milk Snake
Lampropeltis Zonata   California Mountain Kingsnake
Leptodeira Septentrionalis   Cat-eyed Snake
Masticophis bilineatus   Sonoran Whipsnake
Masticophis flagellum   Coachwhip
Masticophis lateralis   Striped Racer
Masticophis Taeniatus   Striped Whipsnake
Nerodia Clarkii   Salt Marsh Snake
Nerodia Cyclopion   Mississippi Green Water Snake
Nerodia Erythrogaster   Plainbelly Water Snake
Nerodia Fasciata   Southern Water Snake
Nerodia Floridana   Florida Green Water Snake
Nerodia Harteri   Brazos Water Snake
Nerodia Paucimaculata   Concho Water Snake
Nerodia Rhombifer   Diamondback Water Snake
Nerodia sipedon   Nothern Water Snake
Nerodia Taxispilota   Brown Water Snake
Opheodrys aestivus   Rough Green Snake
Opheodrys vernalis   Smooth Green Snake
Oxybelis Aeneus   Mexican Vine Snake
Phyllorhynchus Bbrowni   Saddle Leafnose Snake
Phyllorhynchus Decurtatus   Spotted Leafnose Snake
Pituophis Catenifer   Gopher Snake
Pituophis melanoleucus   PineSnake
Regina Alleni   Striped Crayfish Snake
Regina Grahamii   Graham’s Crayfish Snake
Regina Rigida   Glossy Crayfish Snake
Regina Septemvittata   Queen Snake
Rhadinaea Flavilata   Pine Woods Snake
Rhinocheilus Lecontei   Longnose Snake
Salvadora Derserticola   Big Bend Patchnose Snake
Salvadora Grahamiae   Mountain Patchnose Snake
Salvadora Hexalepis   Western Patchnose Snake
Seminatrix Pygaea   Black Swamp Snake
Senticolis Triaspis   Green Rat Snake
Sonora semiannulata   Ground Snake
Stilosoma Extenuatum   Short-tailed Snake
Storeria Dekayi   Brown Snake
Storeria Pccipitomaculata   Redbelly Snake
Tantilla Atriceps   Mexican Blackhead Snake
Tantilla Coronata   Southeastern Crowned Snake
Tantilla Gracilis   Flathead Snake
Tantilla Hobartsmithi   Southwestern Blackhead Snake
Tantilla Nigriceps   Plains Blackhead Snake
Tantilla Oolitica   Rim Rock Crowned Snake
Tantilla Planiceps   Western Blackhead Snake
Tantilla Relicta   Florida Crowned Snake
Tantilla Rubra   Big Bend Blackhead Snake
Tantilla Wilcoxi   Chihuahuan Blackhead Snake
Tantilla Yaquia   Yaqui Blackhead Snake
Thamnophis Atratus   Santa Cruz Garter Snake
Thamnophis Brachystoma   Shorthead Garter Snake
Thamnophis Butleri   Butler’s Garter Snake
Thamnophis Couchi   Western Aquatic Garter Snake
Thamnophis Cyrtopsis   Blackneck Garter Snake
Thamnophis Elegans   Western Terrestrial Garter Snake
Thamnophis Eques   Mexican Garter Snake
Thamnophis Gigas   Giant Garter Snake
Thamnophis Marcianus   Checkered Garter Snake
Thamnophis Ordinoides   Northwestern Garter Snake
Thamnophis Proximus   Western Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis Radix   Plains Garter Snake
Thamnophis Rufipunctatus   Narrowhead Garter Snake
Thamnophis Sauritus   Eastern Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis Sirtalis   Common Garter Snake
Trimorphodon Biscutatus   Lyre Snake
Tropidoclonion Lineatum   Lined Snake
Virginia Striatula   Rough Earth Snake
Virginia Valeriae   Smooth Earth Snake

ELAPIDAE (COBRAS AND CORAL SNAKES)

VENOMOUS

The cobra family is thought to have evolved from Colubrid snakes and many appear very similar in appearance with long, slender bodies and large scales (plates) on the head. They differ in having more advanced venom delivery systems than the venomous Colubrids. Elapids have fangs that are “effectively tubular” in that the fangs contain grooves that are enclosed by an unfolding of the edges. The fangs are in the front of the mouth rather than the rear as is seen in venomous Colubrids. The Elapidae contains some of the world’s most dangerous snakes including cobras (Naja), mambas (Dendroaspis) and sea snakes (Hydophinae and Laticaudinae). Elapids are found worldwide and in Ausralia are the predominant family. In North America, three species of elapids are found, two species of coral snakes and one sea snake. The coral snakes are relatively small snakes that spend most of their time underground. Their primary food is other snakes. Despite their small size and small fangs, their venom is extremely toxic.

Micruroides Euryxanthus   Western Coral Snake
Micrurus Fulvius   Eastern Coral Snake
Pelamis Platurus   Yellowbelly Sea Snake

VIPERIDAE (VIPERS)

VENOMOUS

The vipers are generally considered to be the most advanced family of snakes since they possess a very sophisticated venom delivery system. Large tubular fangs are placed in the front of the mouth and they are hinged, allowing them to be folded back when not in use. Their heads are covered with numerous small scales and their eyes have vertically elliptical pupils. All the vipers found in North America are in the subfamily of pit vipers (Crotalinae) having a pair of heat-sensing pits located between each eye and nostril. The rattlesnakes are a truly American family of pit vipers since they are not found in the Old World and all but two species are found in the U.S. or Mexico. They are divided into two genera based on their head scales. Members of the genus Crotalus have numerous small scales on their heads while members of the genus Sistrurus have large scales (plates) on their heads.

Agkistrodon Contortrix   Copperhead
Agkistrodon Piscivorus   Cottonmouth
Crotalus Adamanteus   Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Crotalus Atrox   Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Crotalus Cerastes   Sidewinder
Crotalus Enyo   Lower California rattlesnake
Crotalus Horridus   Timber Rattlesnake
Crotalus Lepidus   Rock Rattlesnake
Crotalus Mitchellii   Speckled Rattlesnake
Crotalus Molossus   Blacktail Rattlesnake
Crotalus Pricei   Twin-spotted Rattlesnake
Crotalus Ruber   Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Crotalus Scutulatus   Mojave Rattlesnake
Crotalus Tigris   Tiger Rattlesnake
Crotalus Viridis   Western Rattlesnake
Crotalus Willardi   Ridgenose Rattlesnake
Sistrurus Catenatus   Massasauga
Sistrurus Mmiliarius   Pigmy Rattlesnake

Scientific and common names from J T Collins, Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles, Third Edition, Soc Study Amph & Rept Herp Circular No , Order of families from J L Behler and F W King, The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians, Alfred A Knopf,

Compiled for Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, by Doug Henderson and Dennis Paulson, October, 1995


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