Monday, June 20, 2011

Yo, I found this snake....

Anyone know what kind it is? I've never seen anything other than a garter snake around these parts. This guy was just hanging out right outside my back door.

Click for the big version.
This little guy is slightly skinnier than my pinky, but I didn't want to hold it up to it, lest the snake turn around and bite the shit out of me.

I just went and got it because it was cool-looking, thinking there were no such things as poisonous snakes around here, but it turns out there are a few.

If anyone can identify this thing, or needs more info, that would be awesome. This is in northern Illinois by the way...


  1. Fortunately, there aren't many venomous snakes in Illinois to be worried about, and it is pretty definitely not a Timber Rattlesnake (no rattle) or Cottonmouth (not shiny black). The color is wrong (not orange enough) and the head doesn't look wide enough at the jaw hinge to be a Copperhead.

    It looks a lot like a common Northern Watersnake ( Without being able to see its head clearly, though, I can't be sure. If it is a watersnake, it's not really dangerous. They are constrictors that feed mostly on small fish, mice, moles, and other small animals. They are only really aggressive if threatened.

    If it's in a fairly high-traffic area and doesn't seem to want to move along on its own, you might give animal control or the local college biology department a call. They can probably identify it and move it out if necessary. Otherwise, you've got yourself a great alternative to a barn cat for keeping vermin away from your house.

  2. Thanks. I caught it and kept it overnight, just so I could show my daughter in the morning. We let it go this morning. I figured it wasn't poisonous due to the skinny head - one of the few things I remember from my grade school reptile/amphibian obsession days.

    It was the perfect size for an epic miniatures battle, but I figured I should just let it go before I killed it with my poor pet caretaking skills.

  3. The danger with non-poisonous snakes, especially if they are big, is that if aggrivated, they might bite you repeatedly.

  4. That's a common Rat Snake. They are harmless.