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Are There Snakes in Alaska? Are They Deadly?

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Are There Snakes in Alaska? Brace yourself for an arctic expedition like no other as we embark on a quest to uncover the truth behind the enigmatic serpentine inhabitants of the Last Frontier. Picture a land of vast wilderness, towering mountains, and icy waters, where nature’s resilience thrives in the face of extreme conditions. But amidst this rugged terrain, a question lingers: do snakes slither through the frozen landscapes of Alaska?

Join us on a thrilling journey as we navigate through the intriguing tales, local legends, and scientific discoveries to unveil the secrets of Alaska’s reptilian residents. From the remote tundra to the breathtaking coastlines, we’ll unravel the fascinating truth and shed light on the surprising snake encounters that occur in this untamed wilderness. Prepare to be captivated by the untold stories of Alaska’s elusive serpents, as we venture into a world where icy landscapes meet the enigmatic realm of snakes.

Climate and Habitat in Alaska

The Alaskan climate plays a significant role in limiting snake populations. Snakes are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature depends on the external environment. The cold climate of Alaska, with its long, harsh winters and short summers, poses challenges for snakes to thrive.

Additionally, the limited availability of suitable habitats further restricts snake populations. Alaska’s landscapes, dominated by tundra and forests, provide fewer opportunities for snakes compared to regions with more temperate climates.

Are There Snakes in Alaska?

Are There Snakes in Alaska?

While Alaska has a limited number of snake species, it is essential to differentiate between native snakes and invasive snake species.

Native Snakes

Alaska is home to two native snake species: the garter snake and the rubber boa. These snakes have adapted to survive in the colder climates of Alaska, making them unique in their own right.

The garter snake is one of the most common snake species found in Alaska. Its ability to hibernate during the long winter months allows it to survive in the region. Garter snakes are non-venomous and typically feed on small prey, such as insects, amphibians, and small mammals.

The rubber boa is another native snake species found in Alaska. It possesses remarkable cold tolerance and can withstand the harsh Alaskan winters by burrowing into the ground. Rubber boas are also non-venomous and feed primarily on small mammals.

Invasive Snake Species

Contrary to native snake species, Alaska does not have established populations of invasive snakes. Invasive snakes are non-native species that can disrupt ecosystems and pose potential threats to native wildlife. Due to the geographical isolation and inhospitable climate, invasive snakes have not been able to establish themselves in Alaska.

What Types of Snakes Have Been Spotted in Alaska?

garter snake

If for some rare occasion you come across a snake in Alaska, it will most likely be a garter snake. These snakes live in the Pacific Northwest region of Canada.

And if it is Not a garter snake, you may have come across a pet snake that has escaped from its home. In these situations, you’ll want to check to see if anyone in the area has lost a pet, as they won’t survive long in the Alaskan climate.

More Reptiles in Alaska

It’s safe to say that snakes are quite rare in Alaska. But what about other reptiles?

Overall, this state is not a very reptile-friendly habitat, but it is home to a variety of sea turtles. Leatherback sea turtles, green sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, and olive sea turtles often make their homes in the cold Alaskan waters!

In addition to reptiles, you can single out a few others cold-blooded animals in Alaska. These include several types of frogs, such as wood frogs or the Pacific chorus frog, as well as a couple of different salamanders, such as the long-toed salamander.

Interactions with Humans

Pet Snake

While snakes in Alaska generally avoid human contact, occasional encounters may occur. It is essential for both residents and visitors to be aware of snake safety guidelines.

  • Keep a safe distance: If you come across a snake, maintain a safe distance and observe it from afar. Avoid attempting to handle or approach it.
  • Educate yourself: Learn to identify native snake species in Alaska to differentiate them from non-native snakes. Understanding their behavior and habitat preferences can also help minimize encounters.
  • Respect their habitats: Snakes play crucial roles in maintaining ecosystem balance. Avoid disturbing their natural habitats, such as rocks, fallen logs, or dense vegetation.
  • Do not attempt to kill snakes: Killing snakes is unnecessary and can disrupt the delicate ecological balance. Remember that native snake species in Alaska are generally harmless.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If you encounter a snake in your home or property and are unsure how to handle the situation, contact local wildlife authorities or snake removal experts for assistance.

Can you keep pet snakes in Alaska?

While wild snakes are essentially unknown in Alaska, pet snakes are an entirely different story. Many people in this cold state keep snakes as their animal companions!

They are several species of snakes legal to own in Alaska. These include garter snakes, king snakes, rat snakes and various types of pythons. But like most states, you can’t keep venomous snakes if you live in Alaska.

As long as you provide your snake with the proper resources, owning a snake in Alaska isn’t much different than owning one in any other state!

Caring for a snake in Alaska

As long as you keep them indoors, caring for a snake in Alaska shouldn’t be much different than caring for it in any other state. Keep in mind that these pets are quite high maintenance, so you will need a lot of time and money to give your snake a happy life.

Since snakes are tropical animals, a well-heated enclosure is essential. Depending on the species, your snake’s habitat should always be between 70 and 80 degrees.

Feeding your snake the right food is also very important. If you live in a rural area of ​​Alaska, it may be more difficult to find pet stores that sell mice or insects to feed your snake. This means that owning a snake will likely be easier in a larger Alaskan city, like Anchorage.

Other areas without snakes

Alaska isn’t the only part of the world without snakes. While these animals are prominent in most of the land, there are some regions, mostly island countries, where you won’t encounter any snakes.

Here are some other regions where you will be hard-pressed to find these slithering reptiles.


The average annual temperature for Antarctica is -70 degrees Fahrenheit. Antarctica is also the only continent without reptiles. So overall, it can be safely said that the entire continent is an unsuitable habitat for any breed of snake.

New Zeland

Despite its often hot climate, you will never see snakes in New Zealand. Its ever-changing climate makes this island country an unsuitable habitat for snakes. While you might see water snakes on the northern coasts of this country, it’s incredibly rare.

The lack of snakes in New Zealand doesn’t just apply to the outdoors, there aren’t even pet snakes in this island country. Owning snakes in New Zealand it’s illegal because if a pet snake were to escape, it could potentially become an invasive species and affect the local ecosystem.


If you’re familiar with Irish folklore, you’ll know that this country is snake-free. According to an old legend, St. Patrick chased all the serpents of Ireland into the ocean several hundred years ago.

The real reason there are no snakes in Ireland isn’t entirely certain, but many believe it’s simply because this country is an island with a rather cold climate.


Greenland’s climate and average temperature are similar to those of Alaska. And because it’s an island, there aren’t any snakes from other countries that might wander around during the warmer months. As a result, the entire country is permanently snake-free.


Are there venomous snakes in Alaska?

No, the native snake species in Alaska, such as the garter snake and rubber boa, are non-venomous.

Can snakes survive the extreme cold in Alaska?

Native snakes in Alaska, like the garter snake and rubber boa, have evolved to survive the cold climate by hibernating or burrowing underground.

Are there any invasive snake species in Alaska?

Currently, Alaska does not have established populations of invasive snake species due to its geographical isolation and inhospitable climate.

What should I do if I encounter a snake in Alaska?

If you encounter a snake in Alaska, maintain a safe distance, observe it from afar, and avoid attempting to handle or provoke it.

Are snakes in Alaska aggressive towards humans?

Snakes in Alaska, like their counterparts elsewhere, are generally shy and will retreat if given the opportunity. They do not exhibit aggressive behavior towards humans.

Conclusion: Are there snakes in Alaska?

In conclusion, Alaska, the land of towering mountains, sprawling tundra, and icy wilderness, holds its fair share of surprises when it comes to snakes. While not known for its abundance of serpents, Alaska is home to a few resilient species that have adapted to its challenging environment.

From the slithering garter snakes found in wetland areas to the occasional visitors brought in by human activities, snakes have managed to find their place amidst the rugged beauty of this northern frontier.

If you’re intrigued by the unique wildlife of Alaska and want to delve deeper into the world of snakes, their adaptations, and their surprising presence in unlikely habitats, make sure to read more on the VenomousSnake blog. Discover the untold stories of Alaska’s serpentine residents and uncover the captivating secrets of these enigmatic creatures.

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