Colorado Snakes: All Venomous & Non-Venomous Species (With Pics!)

It’s typical to associate the centennial state with snow-covered mountains and ski resorts, not exactly somewhere you’d imagine snakes living!

The truth is, Colorado features a diverse array of habitat types and an equally distinct population of snakes – over 30 species and subspecies, to be precise.

Whether you’re wondering if there are any dangerous snakes in Colorado, or you want to identify an interesting-looking serpent you saw on a hike, you’ve come to the right place.

Our definitive Colorado snake identification guide will teach you what Colorado snakes look like, where they live, and what to do if you encounter one.

In Short

  • Admire all wild animals, including snakes, from a distance.
  • There are over 30 species and subspecies of Colorado snakes; only three are venomous.
  • Most venomous snake bites occur because someone tries to kill, relocate, or harass the snake.
  • Snakes play an integral role in the Colorado ecosystem, including reducing pest populations.

Colorado Snakes Identification: The Basics

This guide is only for Colorado snake identification. Snakes in other regions may look different, even if they’re the same species.

Some key features to look for when attempting to identify any wild snake:

  • Scales – are they keeled or smooth?
  • Length – is the snake long or short?
  • Pupil Shape – are they round or elliptical?
  • Body Shape – is the snake’s body slender or stout?
  • Color and Pattern – most species have a wide range of “normal,” but if you can differentiate splotches from bands, you’re off to a great start.
  • Unique Characteristics – are there any distinctive features, like the upturned snout of the Western Hognose Snake?

Venomous Snakes in Colorado

There are only three venomous snake species in Colorado. They’re all rattlesnakes, which belong to the pit viper family of snakes.

The Prairie Rattlesnake is the largest and most widespread rattler in the state.

Quickly Identifying Colorado’s Rattlesnakes

A snake’s pattern isn’t always a reliable way to identify a rattlesnake because many harmless species mimic the colors and patterns of venomous species.

The Great Basin Gopher Snake is a great example. Its loud pattern and heavily-keeled snakes cause it to look like a rattlesnake.

There are also a handful of harmless Colorado snakes that mimic coral snakes.

With a bit of know-how, it’s easy to differentiate pit vipers from most North American colubrids by identifying these key characteristics:

  • Broad, triangular heads
  • Elliptical, cat-like pupils*
  • Rattle on tail (rattlesnakes only)
  • Heat-sensing pits between the nostrils and eyes

*While almost all North American colubrids have round pupils, Colorado is home to one harmless snake species with elliptical pupils: the Texas Night Snake.

Texas Night Snakes still lack the heavy-bodied build, triangular head shape, and tail rattle of Colorado’s venomous snakes.

Colorado’s Three Venomous Pit Vipers

Only one of Colorado’s three venomous species is abundant throughout most of the state: the Prairie Rattlesnake.

The other two species, the Midget Faded Rattlesnake and the Western Massasauga Rattlesnake, only occupy small pockets of habitat in Colorado.

Prairie Rattlesnake

Prairie Rattlesnake coiled with rocks in  the background
The Prairie Rattlesnake is the largest rattlesnake species in Colorado.

Scientific Name:

Crotalus viridis

Range:

Statewide, except a small portion of west-central Colorado

Size:

3 – 4 ft.

Description:

Heavy-bodied

Keeled scales

Rattle on tip of tail

Triangular head with elliptical pupils

Tan to brown body with reddish, dark brown, or gray symmetrical blotches

Habitat:

Any habitat less than 9,500 feet in elevation

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Venomous

Midget Faded Rattlesnake

Midget Faded Rattlesnake coiled inside a log
The Midget Faded Rattlesnake has an appearance similar to Prairie Rattlesnakes, but their smaller size and faded pattern can be a clear giveaway.

Scientific Name:

Crotalus oreganus concolor

Range:

Northwestern corner of Colorado

Size:

20 – 24 in.

Description:

Heavy-bodied

Keeled scales

Rattle on tip of tail

Triangular head with elliptical pupils

Pinkish, tan, cream, yellowish, reddish, or yellow-brown body with brown oval to rectangular dorsal blotches (pattern fades with age)

Habitat:

Desert shrublands, canyons, and pinyon-juniper woodlands with south-facing

sandstone outcrops and walls

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Venomous

Western Massasauga Rattlesnake

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake with its rattle showing surrounded by grass, rocks and dead leaves
The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, pictured, looks nearly identical to its Western counterpart.

Scientific Name:

Sistrurus catenatus

Range:

Southeastern corner of Colorado

Size:

20 – 22 in.

Description:

Heavy-bodied

Keeled scales

Rattle on tip of tail

Triangular head with elliptical pupils

Light brown or tan body with dark brown dorsal and lateral blotches in a loosely checkered pattern(dorsal blotches may have white outline)

Habitat:

Dry, low-elevation grasslands and sandhills

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Venomous

Harmless Snakes in Colorado

While harmless (non-venomous or mildly venomous) snakes aren’t capable of inflicting serious injuries upon humans, I suggest you still avoid handling or harassing any wild snake.

Many non-venomous colubrids evolved to resemble venomous snakes, making it difficult to tell them apart definitively. Better safe than sorry!

Most Common Snakes in Colorado

Most of Colorado’s snakes have a limited range, so the most common species technically depends on where you are in the state.

Here are five of Colorado’s most commonly encountered snakes. These species might have large ranges, be habitat generalists, or have abundant populations.

Bullsnake

Bull Snake in the shade below a big rock
The Bullsnake is heavier-bodied and has more reddish-orange coloration than the related Great Basin Gopher Snake.

Scientific Name:

Pituophis catenifer sayi

Range:

Eastern Colorado

Size:

4 – 6 ft.

Description:

Keeled scales

Proportionate body

Black bands on the tail

Small head with round pupils

Yellow body with brown, white, black, or reddish blotching – one row of large dorsal blotches and three rows of small lateral blotches

Habitat:

Grasslands, prairies, and meadows

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Plains Garter Snake

Plains Garter Snake on top of rock surrounded by water
The Plains Garter Snake sometimes has checkerboard lateral patterns.

Scientific Name:

Thamnophis radix

Range:

Eastern Colorado

Size:

2 – 4 ft.

Description:

Proportionate

Rough, keeled scales

Light yellow spots on top of head

Round pupils and dark vertical bars on lips

Gray-green underside with small dark spots along the edges

Black or gray body with distinctive orange or yellow dorsal stripe and greenish-yellow lateral stripes

Habitat:

Open, grassy habitats along edges of streams, marshes, and lakes

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Fun Fact: Like most Garter Snake species, the Plains Garter Snake Snake specializes in eating toads and other amphibians.

Yellow-Bellied Racer

Yellow-Bellied Racer on top of rocks
Yellow-Bellied Racers are diurnal snakes that bask during the daytime.

Scientific Name:

Coluber constrictor flaviventris (Eastern Yellow-Bellied Racer)

Coluber constrictor mormon (Western Yellow-Bellied Racer)

Range:

Easternmost and Westernmost Colorado

Size:

2 – 5 ft.

Description:

Slender-bodied

Smooth, shiny scales

Small head with large eyes

Patternless green, blue or brown body with a distinct yellow underside

Juveniles are tan or cream-colored with brown or grey blotches (pattern fades with age)

Habitat:

Summer: open grassland, pastures, and prairie

Spring and Fall: rocky wooded hillsides

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Great Basin Gopher Snake

Great Basin Gopher Snake under a wheel of a car
The Great Basin Gopher Snake occasionally finds itself in inhabited areas, where people tend to mistake them for Prairie Rattlesnakes.

Scientific Name:

Pituophis catenifer deserticola

Range:

Western Colorado

Size:

36 – 66 in. (3 – 5.5 ft.)

Description:

Round pupils

Proportionate

Pointed head

Rough, keeled scales

Cream-colored underside with small, dark, irregular blotches

Tan body with dark brown or black dorsal splotches connected by narrow lines

Dark stripe surrounded by light color on each side of neck that break into dashes towards the tail

Habitat:

Varied

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Expert Tip: The Great Basin Gopher Snake makes a great pet snake, too! Always check your local laws before you bring an exotic pet home, and purchase your pet from a responsible breeder.

Wandering Western Terrestrial Garter Snake

Western Terrestrial Garter Snake on salt flats
This Western Terrestrial Garter Snake is likely from the Southeastern region of Colorado because of its distinct dorsal stripe.

Scientific Name:

Thamnophis elegans vagrans

Range:

Statewide except the Easternmost edge of Colorado

Size:

18 – 41 in. (1.5 – 3.5 ft.)

Description:

Round pupils

Slender-bodied

Rough, keeled scales

Light-colored lateral stripes (fade with age)

Brown or gray body with gray and light tan checkerboard pattern

Wandering Garter Snakes from southeastern Colorado have prominent light-colored dorsal stripe

Habitat:

Habitats with moist vegetation

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Colorado’s Other Harmless Snakes

There’s a diverse array of harmless snakes in Colorado, and almost all of them belong to the colubrid family of snakes.

There’s only one exception: the Texas Blind Snake, belonging to the family Leptotyphlopidae, which consists of diminutive, fossorial snakes that lack true eyes and upper teeth.

Let’s “dig deeper” to uncover this burrowing anomaly, as well as Colorado’s other unique snakes.

Lined Snake

Lined Snake with its body flattened out to appear larger
A threatened Lined Snake may flatten out its body to appear larger and more intimidating.
Image Credit: Thomas Shahan 3 (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Tropidoclonium lineatum

Range:

Most of Eastern Colorado

Size:

10 – 17 in.

Description:

Proportionate

Rough, keeled scales

Narrow head, small eyes with round pupils

Olive green or brown body with tan or yellow dorsal and lateral stripes

Two rows of halfmoon-shaped black spots down the middle of the underside

Habitat:

Underneath debris on hillsides of open prairies and woodland edges

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Glossy Snake

Glossy Snake coiled on top of dirt with grass in the background
The unique facial markings of Glossy Snakes can be used to identify them.
Image Credit: CaliforniaDFW (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Arizona elegans philipi (Painted Desert Glossy Snake)

Arizona elegans elegans (Kansas Glossy Snake)

Range:

Statewide, except northernmost and westernmost edges of Colorado

Size:

2 – 4 ft.

Description:

Proportionate

White underside

Smooth, glossy scales

Light gray body with dark gray or brown dorsal blotches outlined in black

Dark line from angle of the jaw through the eye on each side of the head

Habitat:

Grasslands with sand and loose soil

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Texas Blind Snake

Texas Blind Snake on the ground of top or rocks
Texas Blind Snakes more closely resemble earthworms than serpents.
Image Credit: J. Maughn (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Rena dulcis

Range:

Southeastern corner of Colorado

Size:

9 – 11 in.

Description:

Worm-like

Proportionate body

Smooth, shiny scales

Small head with two dark dots for eyes

Patternless, pinkish-brown body

Habitat:

Loose soil in stony hillsides, prairies, and sandy or rocky deserts

Under stones, boulders, and occasionally house foundations

Most often observed after heavy rainfall

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Long-Nosed Snake

Long-Nosed Snake coiled on top of rocks
Long-Nosed Snakes have the same red, white, and black “warning” colors as Coral Snakes – although they don’t look as similar as some other North American mimics, like Scarlet Snakes.
Image Credit: Natalie McNear (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Rhinocheilus lecontei

Range:

Southeastern corner of Colorado

Size:

2 – 3 ft.

Description:

Proportionate

Smooth scales

White underside

Long, slightly upturned snout

Yellow or cream body with black blotches separated by pink or reddish bands

Cream-colored spots inside the black blotches

Habitat:

Open prairies, sandy habitats, and underneath rocks on canyon slopes

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Texas Night Snake

Texas Night Snake coiled on top of a rock
The Texas Night Snake is one of North America’s only colubrids with elliptical, cat-like pupils.
Image Credit: amdubois01 (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Hypsiglena (torquata) jani

Range:

Southeastern corner of Colorado

Size:

10 – 16 in.

Description:

Proportionate

Smooth scales

Unmarked underside

Elliptical pupils when exposed to light

Gray or brown head with three elongated dark brown blotches on the neck

Grayish-yellow body with dark brown dorsal blotches

Habitat:

Grasslands and prairies

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Common Kingsnake

Desert Kingsnake on top of rocks
This Desert Kingsnake is so lightly speckled that it appears nearly patternless.

Scientific Name:

Lampropeltis getula (Common Kingsnake)

Lampropeltis (getula) holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake)

Lampropeltis (getula) splendida (Desert Kingsnake)

Range:

Southeastern and Southwestern corners of Colorado

Size:

2 – 4 ft.

Description:

Proportionate

Smooth scales

Chocolate brown to black body with yellow or white markings that range from clean bands to irregular specks

Habitat:

Plains and grasslands

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Western Coachwhip

Western Coachwhip close up on top of rocks with grass in the background
Some Western Coachwhips are a pinkish hue.
Image Credit: amdubois01 (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Coluber flagellum testaceus

Range:

Statewide except the Northwestern corner of Colorado

Size:

4 – 6 ft.

Description:

Slender-bodied

Large eyes with round pupils

Smooth scales with braided appearance

Patternless yellow-brown body or burgundy body that fades to yellow-brown towards the tail

Juveniles are yellowish-brown with dark brown crossbands on front of body (pattern fades with age)

White underside with two rows of dark spots on front half

Habitat:

Open grasslands and prairies

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Smooth Green Snake

Smooth Green Snake on top of dead leaves
The Smooth Green Snake has large eyes that help them hunt during the day.

Scientific Name:

Opheodrys vernalis

Range:

Spotty

Size:

14 – 20 in.

Description:

Round pupils

Slender-bodied

Smooth, shiny scales

Patternless green body and white or cream underside, separated by hints of yellow

Habitat:

Marshes, meadows, open woodlands, and along stream edges

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Expert Tip: The Smooth Green Snake is Colorado’s only BRIGHT green snake.

Northern Water Snake

Northern Water Snake on top of dead leaves
As the Northern Water Snake ages, it tends to take on a solid, patternless appearance.

Scientific Name:

Nerodia sipedon

Range:

Northeastern and Southeastern corners of Colorado

Size:

32 – 53 in. (2.5 – 4.5 ft.)

Description:

Round pupils

Heavy-bodied

Rough, keeled scales

Patternless light-colored underside

Brown, grey, reddish, or black body with dark crossbands on neck that fade into dorsal blotches down the body (pattern fades and color darkens with age)

Habitat:

Aquatic habitats

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Common Garter Snake

Common Garter Snake on top of dead leaves with it's tongue out
Common Garter Snakes have bright red tongues. They flatten their body out, when threatened, to appear larger to predators.

Scientific Name:

Thamnophis sirtalis

Range:

Northeastern corner of Colorado

Size:

3 – 4 ft.

Description:

Slender-bodied

Keeled scales

Small head with large eyes

Dark-colored body with three yellow stripes; black spots on a red background between the stripes

Belly is white, green, or gray, with a row of small dark spots along edges

Habitat:

Moist, heavily vegetated habitats such as marshes, wet meadows, pond margins, woodlands and woodland edges, floodplains, and agricultural fields

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Variable Ground Snake

Variable Ground Snake surrounded by leaves, twigs and rocks
The Variable Ground Snake is another desert-dwelling Coral Snake look-alike.
Image Credit: smashtonlee05 (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Sonora semiannulata

Range:

Southern and Eastern edges of Colorado

Size:

8 – 19 in.

Description:

Round pupils

Proportionate

Smooth, glossy scales

Underside patternless cream or white

Brown, red, or orange body may be patternless or have black crossbands or stripes

Habitat:

Grasslands with sand and loose soil

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Fun Fact: A Variable Ground Snake on your property is great for pest control. This species specializes in eating invertebrates like spiders, scorpions, and centipedes.

Western Ribbon Snake

Western Ribbon Snake peeking on top of leaves
Western Ribbon Snakes lack the vertical labial (lip) stripes that most Garter Snakes have.

Scientific Name:

Thamnophis proximus

Range:

Southeastern corner of Colorado

Size:

17 – 50 in. (1.5 – 4 ft.)

Description:

Round pupils

Slender-bodied

Rough, keeled scales

Greenish- or yellowish-white underside

White lips against black top and sides of head

Black, brown, or olive with three light-colored stripes

Habitat:

Aquatic habitats

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Great Plains Rat Snake

Great Plains Rat Snake surrounded by leaves, rocks, and a flower
The Great Plains Rat Snake is closely related to, and closely resembles, the commonly kept Corn Snake.
Image Credit: 2ndPeter (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Pantherophis emoryi

Range:

Southeastern and Westcentral Colorado

Size:

36 – 60 in. (3 – 5 ft.)

Description:

Round pupils

Proportionate

Smooth scales

Dark, square-shaped markings on underside

Stripes sides of head form a point between the eyes

Light gray or tan body with dark gray, brown, or green-gray dorsal blotches outlined in black

Habitat:

Grasslands, lightly wooded forests, and agricultural areas

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Prairie Ringneck Snake

Prairie Ringneck Snake coiled on top of dead grass
A threatened Prairie Ringneck Snake may flash its brightly-colored belly as a warning display to predators.
Image Credit: 2ndPeter (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Diadophis punctactus arnyi

Range:

Southeastern corner of Colorado

Size:

10 – 17 in.

Description:

Round pupils

Slender-bodied

Smooth, shiny scales

Dark gray or black head

Yellow or orange ring around neck

Patternless slate grey, olive, brown, or bluish-grey body

Orange, red, or yellow underside with black spots; more red towards tail

Habitat:

Plains grasslands, canyon bottoms, or riparian areas with moist soil

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Blackneck Garter Snake

Image of Blackneck Garter Snake

Blackneck Garter Snake close up
Here, you can see the clearly-defined black blotches on either side of the Blackneck Garter Snake’s neck.

Scientific Name:

Thamnophis cyrtopsis

Range:

Southern and Eastern edges of Colorado

Size:

3 – 4 ft.

Description:

Keeled scales

Slender-bodied

Underside is cream or light gray

Small head with large eyes

Solid black pattern on both sides of neck

Dark olive body with an orange or yellow dorsal stripe

Habitat:

Grasslands near water sources

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Fun Fact: The Blackneck Garter Snake is the least common Garter Snake in Colorado.

Western Hognose Snake

Western Hognose snake surrounded by leaves
Western Hognose Snakes are well known for their dramatic defensive displays.

Scientific Name:

Heterodon nasicus

Range:

Eastern Colorado with a small pocket in the Northwest corner

Size:

15 – 36 in. (1 – 3 ft.)

Description:

Round pupils

Heavy-bodied

Upturned snout

Rough, keeled scales

Dark line from eyes to the corners of the mouth

Black underside with yellowish-white blotches towards tail

Gray, brown, or olive body with dark brown dorsal blotches and two rows of lateral blotches on each side

Habitat:

Scrubby, flat prairies with loose, sandy soil

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Central Plains Milksnake

Central Plains Milksnake close up with twigs
Especially towards the tail, the red coloration inside the Central Plains Milksnake’s saddles may completely disappear to form black bands.
Image Credit: amdubois01 (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Lampropeltis (triangulum) gentilis

Range:

Statewide

Size:

16 – 36 in. (1 – 3 ft.)

Description:

Round pupils

Heavy-bodied

Smooth, shiny scales

White, cream, or light gray body with red blotches outlined in black

Habitat:

Forests, plains, woodland edges, rocky ledges, and agricultural areas

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Desert Striped Whipsnake

Desert Striped Whipsnake close up with it's tongue out
Desert Striped Whipsnakes look like a cross between a Garter Snake and a Coachwhip.

Scientific Name:

Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus

Range:

Western Colorado

Size:

2 – 6 ft.

Description:

Slender-bodied

Smooth scales

Elongated head with large eyes and round pupils

Olive, black, brown, or dark gray body fading to yellow or pink towards the tail

Gray, white, or cream lateral stripes with narrow dashed dark lines running down the middle of the stripes

Habitat:

Flatlands and mountains including shrublands, grasslands, sagebrush flats, canyons, piñon-juniper woodlands, and open pine-oak forests

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Non-Venomous

Plains Black-Headed Snake

Plains Black-Headed Snake on top of twigs and rocks
Compared to the Southwestern Black-Headed Snake, Plains Black-Headed snakes have more of an orangish, almost pinkish, color to them.
Image Credit: amdubois01 (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Tantilla nigriceps

Range:

Eastern Colorado

Size:

7 – 15 in.

Description:

Round pupils

Slender-bodied

Smooth, shiny scales

Pink or coral underside

Black or dark gray head

Patternless yellowish-brown body

Habitat:

Grassland and plains

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

Southwestern Black-Headed Snake

Southwestern Black-Headed Snake close up on top of  dirt
Southwestern Black-Headed Snakes live in a very small portion of Colorado, making location the easiest way to distinguish them from Plains Black-Headed Snakes.
Image Credit: Misenus1 (via CreativeCommons.org)

Scientific Name:

Tantilla hobartsmithi

Range:

Small pocket in West-central Colorado

Size:

18 – 41 in. (1.5 – 3.5 ft.)

Description:

Round pupils

Smooth scales

Slender-bodied

Pink or coral underside

Black or dark gray head

Patternless light brown body

Habitat:

Deserts, grasslands, shrublands, and forests with loose soil and leaf litter

Venomous/Non-Venomous:

Mildly Venomous (not medically significant to humans)

What You Need to Know

Snakes are shy, reclusive animals that prefer to avoid human encounters. From a snake’s point of view, we are large predators who can harm them.

Most snakes will flee or use their camouflage to hide, only biting as a last resort. Most snake bites result from people attempting to handle, relocate, or injure snakes.

The most effective way to avoid a snake bite is by leaving wild snakes alone and giving them space.

Coexisting with Colorado Snakes

Snakes play a vital role in Colorado’s ecosystem.

Some predators, including birds of prey, foxes, and raccoons, rely on snakes as a source of food. Snakes also help to control pest populations.

The best way to coexist with Colorado’s snakes is to give them space and treat them with respect.

You might even consider maintaining a snake-friendly property to deter rodents and pest insects.

Snake Safety 101

Venomous snake bites aren’t a huge concern in Colorado, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Keep reading to learn what to do if you find a rattlesnake – and how to avoid a bite.

About Venomous Snakes

There are only three dangerous venomous snakes in Colorado, and the Prairie Rattlesnake is the only common one.

The fact is that it’s not common to encounter a western rattlesnake in Colorado.

If you do find one of Colorado’s rattlesnakes in the wild, turn around or make a small detour to give the serpent a respectable amount of space as you pass.

There have only been two fatal snake envenomations in Colorado in over 20 years, since at least 1999. Dying from a snake bite in Colorado is statistically very rare.

Expert Tip: Some snakes, like the Western Hognose Snake, Blackneck Garter Snake, and Common Garter Snake, produce a mild venom that has little to no effect on humans. That’s why we consider these snakes to be harmless.

Treading Carefully in Snake Habitat

  • Use a walking stick
  • Watch where you step
  • Wear sturdy shoes and long pants
  • Keep your pets close and on a leash
  • Stay on designated paths without overgrown vegetation
  • Teach your children to follow these snake safety tips in wilderness areas
  • Be cautious of where you put your hands and don’t reach where you can’t see

If You Encounter a Snake

  1. Do not disturb the snake!
  2. Stop moving and identify the snake’s exact location or direction of travel
  3. Back up and put at least five feet of distance between you and the snake
  4. Turn back or travel around the snake, maintaining the five-foot distance

When to Call for Help

Only reach out to a wildlife professional or snake relocation expert to have a snake removed from your property if you feel that it’s posing a direct threat to you, your children, or your pets.

If you find an injured snake, here’s a list of wildlife rehabilitation experts in Colorado with a chart indicating which ones accept reptilian patients.

If you suspect that a venomous snake bit you or someone you’re helping, call 911 immediately.

Take a photo of the snake or make a mental note of its appearance, if possible. This can help medical professionals provide you with better, more targeted treatment.

Seek emergency veterinary care if a venomous snake bites your pet.

Useful Resources

Emergency Phone Numbers

Colorado Poison Center: 1-800-222-1222

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center: 1-888-426-4435

Snake Relocation Services

Free Snake Relocation Directory on Facebook

Colorado Parks and Wildlife: (303)866-3437

Educational Resources

Colorado State Parks’ Rattlesnake Management Information

University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History

Colorado Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

Articles Similar to Our Colorado Snake Identification Guide

If you’re interested in identifying more of North America’s native reptiles, have a look at our:

  1. U.S. Turtles Identification Guide
  2. Florida Snake Identification Guide
  3. Texas Snakes Identification Guide
  4. California Lizards Identification Guide

You can also check out our other articles on snakes – we have comprehensive guides to learn from!

Have you ever seen a wild snake in Colorado? Tell us about your cold-blooded experience in the comment section below!

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