A large number of snakes, both venomous species, and non-venomous species call Alabama their home. Snakes are found in all regions in Alabama, from the northern mountains to the Gulf Coast. They vary in size, habitats, and diet. As a result of their presence, snakebites are a common occurrence in the state.
Where is Alabama?
The state of Alabama lies in the southeastern part of the US. It borders the states of Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. To the state’s south lies the Gulf of Mexico.
Where Do Snakes Live In Alabama?
Snakes in Alabama primarily inhabit forested areas as well as abandoned farms. The snakes also live in flood plains, hilly regions, and along the edges of swamps. The snakes seek shelter in rocks, wood piles, and under vegetation. Other snakes in the state prefer urban settings such as Birmingham city while others seek sparsely populated areas. The mountains in the state also provide a habitat for populations of the reptile.
Most Venomous Snakes In Alabama
Alabama is home to several poisonous snakes which pose significant threats to humans. These snakes are:
- Copperhead- in the copperhead category are the southern copperhead and the northern copperhead highland moccasin. The snakes are named for their copper-red heads, and they grow to between 2 and 3 feet. The snake is commonly sighted in the Coastal Plain, and it attacks the blood system and muscles. Its venom is not highly toxic and rarely proves fatal.
- Cotton-Mouth- cottonmouth snakes in Alabama are the Florida cottonmouth, green-tailed moccasin, and the eastern cottonmouth water moccasin. The snakes inhabit water habitats and grow to a maximum length of 74 inches. Its venom is extremely toxic because it breaks down the body’s tissues and blood cells and inhibits the blood’s ability to clot.
- Timber Rattlesnake- this snake has a yellow and black patterned body, and it grows to more than 7 feet. The snake prefers sparsely populated areas including forests, cane thickets, and rocky outcrops. The snake’s coloration prevents easy detection, and its bite can be fatal and life- threatening since its venom is hemorrhagic.
- Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake- this snake is one of the largest venomous snakes in the state, growing to a length of eight feet. It has distinct diamond patterns which appear dark-brown and dot the entire body. The snake attacks mostly when threatened and its venom destroy red blood cells and leads to tissue damage.
- Pygmy Rattlesnake- this snake is small, growing up to 30 inches in length. Classified in this category are the dusky pygmy rattlesnake and the Carolina pygmy rattlesnake. The snake’s venom is cytotoxic, and it is rarely fatal.
- Coral Snake- this snake is easily recognizable due to its red and black bands separated by yellow bands. This snake’s venom is deadly, and there is a saying that ‘red touched yellow kill a fellow.'
Snakebite Cases In Alabama
There were152 snakebites reported in 2014 in the state and Alabama. It is ranked among the top states where an individual is likely to die from snakebites. The bites mostly occur from April to October when most people are outdoors due to the warm weather. Antivenin is used to treat bites from venomous snakes.
Threats To The Snakes Of Alabama
Snakes in the state face direct persecution from humans. People are generally fearful of snakes, and they resort to killing the reptile upon encounter. Other threats are habitat loss, urban development, pollution of aquatic habitats, and the introduction of alien species.
Which Species Need Special Protection?
Snake species of the highest conservation concern are the eastern indigo, rainbow snake, southern hognose snake, and black pine snake. Snakes with high conservation concern are the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, prairie kingsnake, eastern kingsnake, speckled kingsnake, eastern coral snake, northern pine snake, Florida pine snake, and North Florida swamp snake.
|Scientific Name Of Snake Found In Alabama||Common Name Of The Snakes||Venomous To Humans?||Conservation Concern|
|Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix||southern copperhead||Yes||Lowest|
|Agkistrodon contortrix mokeson||northern copperhead highland moccasin||Yes||Lowest|
|Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti||Florida cottonmouth green-tailed moccasin||Yes||Lowest|
|Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma||western cottonmouth water moccasin||Yes||Lowest|
|Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus||eastern cottonmouth water moccasin||Yes||Lowest|
|Carphophis amoenus amoenus||eastern worm snake||No||Lowest|
|Carphophis amoenus helenae||midwestern worm snake||No||Lowest|
|Cemophora coccinea copei||northern scarlet snake||No||Lowest|
|Coluber constrictor constrictor||northern black racer||No||Low|
|Coluber constrictor priapus||southern black racer||No||Low|
|Crotalus adamanteus||eastern diamondback rattlesnake||Yes||High|
|Crotalus horridus||timber rattlesnake canebrake rattlesnake||Yes||Low|
|Diadophis punctatus edwardsii||northern ringneck snake||No||Lowest|
|Diadophis punctatus punctatus||southern ringneck snake||No||Lowest|
|Diadophis punctatus stictogenys||Mississippi ringneck snake||No||Lowest|
|Drymarchon couperi||eastern indigo snake||No||Highest, Possibly extirpated|
|Elaphe obsoleta spiloides||gray rat snake||No||Lowest|
|Farancia abacura abacura||eastern mud snake||No||Low|
|Farancia abacura reinwardtii||western mud snake||No||Low|
|Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma||rainbow snake||No||Highest|
|Heterodon platirhinos||eastern hognose snake||No||Moderate|
|Heterodon simus||southern hognose snake||No||Highest, Possibly extirpated|
|Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster||prairie kingsnake||No||High|
|Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata||mole kingsnake||No||Moderate|
|Lampropeltis elapsoides||scarlet kingsnake||No||Low|
|Lampropeltis getula getula||eastern kingsnake||No||High|
|Lampropeltis getula holbrooki||speckled kingsnake||No||High|
|Lampropeltis nigra||black kingsnake||No||Low|
|Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum||eastern milk snake||No||Moderate|
|Lampropeltis triangulum syspila||red milk snake||No||Moderate|
|Masticophis flagellum flagellum||eastern coachwhip||No||Moderate|
|Micrurus fulvius||eastern coral snake||Yes||High|
|Nerodia clarkii clarkii||Gulf salt marsh snake||No||Moderate|
|Nerodia cyclopion||Mississippi green water snake||No||Moderate|
|Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster||redbelly water snake||No||Lowest|
|Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster||yellowbelly water snake||No||Lowest|
|Nerodia fasciata confluens||broad-banded water snake||No||Lowest|
|Nerodia fasciata fasciata||southern banded water snake||No||Lowest|
|Nerodia fasciata pictiventris||Florida banded water snake||No||Lowest|
|Nerodia floridana||Florida green water snake||No||Moderate|
|Nerodia rhombifer||diamondback water snake||No||Low|
|Nerodia sipedon pleuralis||midland water snake||No||Lowest|
|Nerodia taxispilota||brown water snake||No||Low|
|Opheodrys aestivus||rough green snake||No||Low|
|Pantherophis guttatus guttatus||corn snake||No||Moderate|
|Pantherophis obsoletus||black rat snake||No||Lowest|
|Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi||black pine snake||No||Highest|
|Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus||northern pine snake||No||High|
|Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus||Florida pine snake||No||High|
|Regina rigida sinicola||Gulf crayfish snake||No||Lowest|
|Regina septemvittata||queen snake||No||Moderate|
|Rhadinaea flavilata||pine woods snake||No||Moderate|
|Seminatrix pygaea pygaea||North Florida swamp snake||No||High|
|Sistrurus miliarius barbouri||dusky pigmy rattlesnake Florida ground rattlesnake||Yes||Moderate|
|Sistrurus miliarius miliarius||Carolina pigmy rattlesnake ground rattlesnake||Yes||Moderate|
|Sistrurus miliarius streckeri||western pigmy rattlesnake ground rattlesnake||Yes||Moderate|
|Storeria dekayi dekayi||northern brown snake||No||Lowest|
|Storeria dekayi limnetes||marsh brown snake||No||Lowest|
|Storeria dekayi wrightorum||midland brown snake||No||Lowest|
|Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata||northern redbelly snake||No||Lowest|
|Tantilla coronata||southeastern crown snake||No||Low|
|Thamnophis sauritus sauritus||eastern ribbon snake||No||Low|
|Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis||common garter snake||No||Low|
|Virginia striatula||smooth earth snake||No||Lowest|
|Virginia valeriae elegans||western earth snake||No||Lowest|
|Virginia valeriae valeriae||eastern earth snake||No||Lowest|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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