Georgia Snakes

Snakes of Georgia

Snakes are common across Georgia, even in urban and suburban areas. As development and population growth continue in Georgia, encounters between humans and snakes will increase.

Georgia is fortunate to have among the highest biodiversity of snakes in the United States with 46 species. Snakes can be found from the mountains of northern Georgia to the barrier islands along the Atlantic coast. The rich diversity of snake species makes Georgia ideal for observing and learning about snakes.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, at least 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers some degree of snake fear. Regardless of the cause, extreme fear is unnecessary. Snakes are not under every rock or behind every tree; encounters are relatively infrequent. Typically, the more people learn about snakes, the less they fear them. By learning about species identification and distribution as well as the fascinating natural history of these reptiles, you will greatly reduce your fear of Georgia's snakes and enjoy the outdoors more.

Click here for the PDF version of a snakes fact sheet.

Want to learn more? Download the "Venomous Snakes of Georgia" brochure and "Is It a Water Moccasin?" brochures.

Also check out the Snakes of Georgia and South Carolina website, produced with The University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. This site provides information about the biology of snakes, as well as information and photographs useful for identifying the snake species of Georgia and South Carolina.


Simply hearing the word snake sends shivers up some folk's spine. However, snakes are an important component of our ecosystem in Georgia because of their major role as both a predator and prey. Snakes are economically beneficially because they eat rats, mice, and other animals deemed to be pests. Some snakes have been used as bioindicators to assess pollutants in terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems. Unfortunately, many species of snakes are declining as a result of human activities.  Thankfully, of the 41 snake species that occur in Georgia, only one is considered legally threatened, the eastern indigo snake.


  • Eastern Green Water Snake
  • Brown Water Snake
  • Red or Yellow-Bellied Water Snake
  • Banded Water Snake
  • Northern Water Snake
  • Banded Water Snake
  • Striped Crayfish Snake
  • Glossy Crayfish Snake
  • Black Swamp Snake
  • Brown Snake
  • Red-Bellied Snake
  • Eastern Ribbon Snake
  • Common Garter Snake
  • Smooth Earth Snake
  • Rough Earth Snake
  • Eastern Hognose Snake
  • Southern Hognose Snake
  • Ringneck Snake
  • Eastern Worm Snake
  • Pine Woods Snake
  • Mud Snake
  • Rainbow Snake
  • Racer
  • Coachwhip
  • Rough Green Snake
  • Corn Snake
  • Rat Snake
  • Pine Snake
  • Eastern/Black Kingsnake
  • Mole Kingsnake
  • Scarlet Kingsnake/Milk Snake
  • Scarlet Snake
  • Southeastern Crowned Snake
  • Eastern Indigo Snake
  • Central Florida Crowned Snake


  • Copperhead
  • Pigmy Rattlesnake
  • Canebrake or Timber Rattlesnake
  • Cottonmouth
  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
  • Eastern Coral Snake


Snakes are reptiles characterized by elongated bodies and a lack of limbs. Snakes are closely related to lizards, but do not have external ears or eyelids. The skin of snakes is dry and scaly, not slimy like some people believe. Snakes have a forked tongue used to "sample" microscopic particles from the air. The particles are transferred to the Jacobson's organ to taste the air to figure out its surroundings. Snakes are "cold-blooded" meaning they rely on their surroundings for body heat. As a result, snakes cannot tolerate extreme temperatures. Therefore, when it is cold or extremely hot outside, snakes are relatively inactive.


Snakes can be found in most backyards, parks, and woodlands throughout Georgia. Many species are secretive, spending most of their time underground or under cover. Active gardeners may occasionally see small ringneck, worm, red-bellied, brown, earth, and crowned snakes. None of these species are much bigger than a large earthworm and do not bite. Several larger snake species also frequent backyards, especially corn and rat snakes, as well as racers. These larger snakes will eat mice, rats, and occasionally birds and their eggs. Snakes often take refuge in piles of brush or firewood. Water snakes, especially banded water snakes, are occasionally found in areas bordering streams, swamps, or farm ponds. 

Occasionally, snakes searching for rodents or eggs will take refuge in barns, crawl spaces underneath homes, or sometimes in a home. The best way to keep snakes from entering your home or other building is to prevent snakes and snake food (rodents) from entering your home. Closing up all possible entrance locations is a must. Next, a rodent control program should be put in place to eliminate the food attraction for snakes. 

If you already have a snake in your home or other undesirable area, glueboards purchased at almost any hardware, landscaping, home improvement, or department store are quite effective in trapping the uninvited guest for removal from the premises. As a bonus, unwanted rodents may be caught also. Simply staple or nail a 6- by 12-inch glueboard to a 16- by 24-inch piece of plywood and place the board in the area the snake is suspected to be. Use holes cut in the wood to attach a rope so the board easily can be removed without getting too close to the snake. Snakes usually travel next to walls so board placement against a wall is preferred. When trapping any animal, always minimize the chances of catching non-targets like birds, rabbits, squirrels or pets by keeping all pets away from the trap. If you are trapping outside your home, cover the glueboards with a board or box to prevent birds from landing directly on the board. Don't forget to check the glueboards at least once a day to minimize the time the snakes are trapped.

Snakes can easily be released from the glueboards by pouring cooking oil over the snake. The oil breaks down the glue and the snake can be removed with a stick or pole. Other than some glue residue that will be lost the next time the snake sheds, the snake will be trapped and released unharmed, which is a good thing since all snakes except venomous ones are protected in Georgia.

By learning about species identification and distribution as well as the fascinating natural history of these reptiles, you will greatly reduce your fear of Georgia's snakes and enjoy the outdoors more.