Get to Know the Native Snakes of Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s Venomous Vipers

Oklahoma is home to a variety of native snakes, including some of the most venomous vipers in the United States. These vipers are found throughout the state, from the woodlands of eastern Oklahoma to the grasslands of western Oklahoma. While these snakes can be dangerous, they are also an important part of Oklahoma’s natural environment and should be respected.

The most common venomous viper in Oklahoma is the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). This species is found throughout much of western and central Oklahoma, and is easily identified by its distinctive diamond-shaped pattern along its back. The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is a large snake, reaching up to five feet in length. It has a potent venom that can cause severe pain and swelling if not treated quickly.

Another venomous viper found in Oklahoma is the Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis). This species is found throughout much of eastern and central Oklahoma, and can be identified by its light brown or gray coloration with dark blotches along its back. The Prairie Rattlesnake has a milder venom than the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, but it can still cause serious injury if not treated quickly.

The third venomous viper found in Oklahoma is the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). This species is found primarily in southeastern Oklahoma, and can be identified by its dark brown or black coloration with light-colored bands along its back. The Timber Rattlesnake has a very potent venom that can cause severe pain and swelling if not treated quickly.

Non-Venomous Snakes of Oklahoma


In addition to these three venomous species, there are also several non-venomous snakes that are native to Oklahoma. These include rat snakes, garter snakes, king snakes, corn snakes, hognose snakes, and water snakes. All of these species are harmless to humans and play an important role in controlling rodent populations throughout the state.

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Rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) are one of the most common non-venomous snake species found in Oklahoma. They have a long slender body with smooth scales that range from gray to black in coloration with white or yellowish stripes running down their sides. Rat snakes feed primarily on rodents such as mice and rats but will also eat birds eggs or small lizards when available.

Garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) are another common non-venomous snake species found in Oklahoma. They have a slender body with smooth scales that range from olive green to black in coloration with three yellow stripes running down their sides. Garter snakes feed primarily on earthworms but will also eat frogs or small fish when available.

King Snakes (Lampropeltis getula) are another non-venomous snake species found in Oklahoma that feeds primarily on other reptiles such as lizards or small turtles but will also eat rodents when available. King Snakes have a stout body with smooth scales that range from black to yellowish brown in coloration with white or yellowish stripes running down their sides.

Corn Snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) are another non-venomous snake species found in Oklahoma that feeds primarily on rodents such as mice or rats but will also eat birds eggs when available. Corn Snakes have a slender body with smooth scales that range from orange to reddish brown in coloration with dark blotches running down their sides.

Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos) are another non-venomous snake species found in Oklahoma that feeds primarily on amphibians such as frogs or salamanders but will also eat small mammals when available . Hognose Snakes have a stout body with rough scales that range from gray to tan in coloration with dark blotches running down their sides .

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Water Snakes (Nerodia sipedon) are another non-venomous snake species found in Oklahoma that feeds primarily on fish but will also eat frogs or small mammals when available . Water Snakes have a long slender body with rough scales that range from olive green to brownish black in coloration .

Respectful Coexistence

While some people may find these native snake species intimidating due to their potential for harm , it’s important for us all to remember they play an important role within our ecosystems . By understanding more about these creatures , we can learn how best to coexist peacefully while respecting their place within our environment .

If you encounter any type of snake while out exploring , it’s best practice not to