There are 14 species of snakes that call Massachusetts home. They come in many patterns and colors, and their diets and habitats vary.
Most species are non-venomous, including those most often found in yards or basements: the eastern garter snake and eastern milk snake. The two venomous species, the timber rattlesnake and northern copperhead, are very rare, and prefer rocky, forested hillsides.
There are no water moccasins, cobras, or other exotic venomous snakes native to Massachusetts. Adults are mostly black, with a white throat, and juveniles are mottled grey. Its scales are lightly keeled they have a small ridge, as on the bottom of a boat. Endangered in Massachusetts, and, under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to kill, harass, or possess this snake.
Dekay's brownsnake is often seen in urban and suburban areas, where it eats pests like slugs.
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It is creamy beige-brown, with keeled scales, and dark brown spots down the back. The eastern garter snake is one of our most commonly-seen snakes. It has long stripes down its body, but lacks the burgundy stripe and white eye spot of the rarer eastern ribbon snake. It eats amphibians, fish, small mammals, earthworms, and sometimes insects.
Like the black rat snake, it is mostly black, but it has smooth scales. Young snakes are mottled grey-blue and brown. This snake may be more prone to striking if threatened, but this behavior is a bluff; it is non-venomous. This snake is named for its turned-up nose.
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Its body color varies from yellow to brown to black, and it has keeled scales. When threatened, this harmless snake may flatten its head like a cobra, and then play dead. Its diet is varied, but it prefers to eat toads. The eastern milk snake has a mottled grey, brown, and reddish body. This non-venomous snake is often confused for a rattlesnake, but it lacks the rattle, keeled scales, and cat-like pupils.
Young of oviparous species have a leathery, flexible shell. Females will lay eggs in leaf litter, rotten logs and mulch piles, or underground. The diet of snakes can vary widely depending on availability and location, but all snakes are carnivores. Snakes swallow their food whole and have flexible jaws and joints in their skulls, which allow them to consume larger prey.
The biggest threats to snake populations are habitat loss, persecution by humans, overuse of pesticides, and collection of wild snakes by hobbyists and reptile dealers. If you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone.
When a snake bites a person, it does so in self-defense. Search IN. Find an IN. Top FAQs.
St. Johns County, in Nocatee, huge water moccasin was caught
General Characteristics Common Gartersnake. Northern Watersnake. Gray Ratsnake.