40 Snakes In Arkansas

Written by Tracy Graham
Published: September 22, 2022
Image Credit Audrey Snider-Bell/Shutterstock.com
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Arkansas has a lot of stunning landscapes and a lot of snakes that like to live in those stunning landscapes. One of the state borders is pretty much the Mississippi River. And there are many other lakes, streams, and waterways throughout the state which is one of the reasons why there is a large number of water snakes in Arkansas. But Arkansas has more than just water to attract snakes. It also has stunning mountains and vast grasslands.

40 Snakes In Arkansas

No matter where you go in Arkansas you will be able to find snakes in Arkansas. It has one of the largest snake populations and one of the most diverse snake populations of any state. A few of the 40 different kinds of snakes in Arkansas are:

Prairie King Snake

Like most king snakes the prairie king snake is not that large. It’s only about three feet long. However it is very wide and thick. Prairie king snakes are most often light brown, tan, or light gray with darker brown markings. These snakes also have a V shaped mark on their heads in dark brown or black. They are not venomous, but if you surprise one or corner it they may shake their tail like a rattle. This is just to scare you into leaving it alone. They don’t have any actual venom and they’re not rattlesnakes.

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Prairie Kingsnake
Prairie king snakes are most often light brown, tan, or light gray with darker brown markings.

Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com

Eastern Black Racer Snake

Eastern racer snakes mostly stay in forest and grasslands so you’ll find them primarily in the central plains of Arkansas. They are very long and thin. The average length for these snakes is about six feet. Black racer snakes are also extremely fast. They can travel at up to four miles per hour when they want. If you scare one it may just flee quickly or it may raise itself up and try to scare you. A black racer snake may bite you, but it is not venomous so it won’t do any serious damaged. Still, handle this all black snake with caution.

Snakes That Look Like Copperheads-Black Racer Snake
The black racer is an agile and very fast animal that can “run” (crawl) 4 miles per hour when it is threatened, hence the name “racer”.

Breck P. Kent/Shutterstock.com

Flathead Snake

Flathead snakes are very small. The average length for a flathead snake is about six inches. They are slim, and are about as big around as a pencil. They are usually brown or reddish brown with a light colored belly. Flathead snakes like to burrow into moist wet soil like the soil in forests, agricultural fields, or mulch-filled planter boxes in suburban yards. And these snakes are absolutely no threat to people. They help people by eating all the insects they can find.

Smallest Snakes: Flat-headed Snake
The Flat-headed Snake is a burrowing species. It spends most of its time in slightly moist soil under rocks or in underground burrows.

Creeping Things/Shutterstock.com

Ground Snake

Ground snakes in Arkansas reside mainly in the Snake River areas in Owyhee county. They don’t grow to be very large. The biggest ones in Arkansas usually are about 20 inches long. Ground snakes can be gray or tan with dark brown or black markings. Some of them are solid colored and have no markings at all.

A Western Ground Snake slithers across a rock in the Mojave Desert
Ground snakes in Arkansas reside mainly in the Snake River areas in Owyhee county.

Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com

Midwest Worm Snake

Midwest worm snakes look exactly the way you would expect them to look based on their name. They are about a foot long and very thin. Worm snakes are usually gray with pinkish or tan bellies and they look like large worms. They eat worms and small insects. They are no threat at all to people and try to stay hidden in the dirt and leaf litter as much as they can.

Worm snake - Eastern Worm Snake
Worm snakes are usually gray with pinkish or tan bellies and they look like large worms.

Jason Patrick Ross/Shutterstock.com

Rough Earth Snake

Another type of snake in Arkansas that mostly eats worms is the rough earth snake. Rough earth snakes also resemble worms. They are about a foot to a foot and a half long. These little snakes are no threat to anyone and they are found in urban and suburban environments all over the state.

These little snakes are no threat to anyone and they are found in urban and suburban environments all over the state.

Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com

Western Mud Snake

Western mud snakes are usually found adjacent to wetlands, marshes, ponds, and other wet environments. They feed on a lot of the animals and insects that feed on fish and other water creatures. These snakes have very striking coloring. Typically they are a glossy black with a red belly. Western mud snakes are about 50 inches long on average.

mud snake
Western mud snakes are usually found adjacent to wetlands, marshes, ponds, and other wet environments.

Nathan A Shepard/Shutterstock.com

Water Snakes In Arkansas

There are lakes and rivers all over Arkansas but many water snakes make their homes along the eastern border of the state which is the Mississippi River. All along the lowland Mississippi River area are swamps, marshes, and inlets called the Mississippi Delta. In the Delta you will find lots of water snakes including these water snakes in Arkansas:

Mississippi Green Water Snake

Just like the name implies the Mississippi green water snake lives in and near the Mississippi Delta and the Mississippi River. In Arkansas that means you can find these snakes along the eastern border of the state where the Mississippi River makes up the eastern boundary. On average the Mississippi green water snake is about three feet long, although they can be up to four and a half feet long. Their bodies are dark green or brown with dark markings or no markings. Their bellies are light cream or light yellow.

Mississippi Green Water Snake
Just like the name implies the Mississippi green water snake lives in and near the Mississippi Delta and the Mississippi River.

Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock.com

Plain Belly Water Snake

The plain belly water snake is also about three feet long. But the plain belly water snake in Arkansas lives all over the state in ponds and rivers. Plain belly water snakes are either dark green or gray and they have pale colored bellies. They don’t have any markings. They are not venomous and feed mostly on fish and frogs. If you’re fishing in some of the lakes and streams that dot the landscape in Arkansas you may very well come into contact with a plain belly water snake. Just leave it alone and it will leave you alone.

Plain-Bellied Water Snake - Yellow Belly Water Snake
Plain belly water snakes are either dark green or gray and they have pale colored bellies.

/Shutterstock.com

Broad-banded Water Snake

The broad-banded water snake prefers fresh water. So these snakes are mostly found in freshwater ponds and lakes, marshes, and in some areas near the Mississippi Delta in Arkansas. Broad-banded water snakes are black with vivid orange or coppery orange bands that have jagged edges. If you see any snake in the water or near the water with ragged edged bands running the length of its body it’s most likely a broad-banded water snake. They are typically only about two feet long.

Broad-banded Water Snake
The broad-banded water snake prefers fresh water.

iStock.com/williamhc

Diamondback Water Snake

Diamondback water snakes should not be confused with diamondback rattlesnakes. A diamondback water snake is not venomous and won’t hurt you unless you really startle it or corner it. Any snake will attack you if you corner it so it’s best to never approach a wild snake. But diamondback water snakes are harmless unless threatened. These snakes are just about two feet long and they are usually dark olive or brown colored with a distinct diamond pattern running down their backs in black. Diamondback water snakes live mostly in ponds and lakes, but they can also sometimes turn up in irrigation ditches or cattle ponds so be careful.

Diamondback Water Snake - On Rocks
A diamondback water snake is not venomous and won’t hurt you unless you really startle it or corner it.

Rusty Dodson/Shutterstock.com

Midland Water Snake

Midland water snakes are related to northern water snakes, another type of water snake in Arkansas. They are about 5 feet long and they are light brown to medium brown with dark brown and black markings. These freshwater snakes tend to stay in freshwater streams, ponds, and lakes throughout the state of Arkansas. They are no threat to humans.

Midland water snakes are related to northern water snakes, another type of water snake in Arkansas.

Tucker Heptinstall/Shutterstock.com

Gulf Crayfish Snake

As you might have guessed from the name of these snakes they eat mostly crayfish. The Gulf crayfish snake lives in the small marshes and swamps close to the Mississippi River and throughout ponds and small water sources throughout the state. Anywhere the crayfish live you can find the Gulf crayfish snake. These snakes are tiny. They’re usually just a foot long or slightly longer. They are a shiny olive or brown color and they have light colored undersides.

Gulf Swampsnake
Anywhere the crayfish live you can find the Gulf crayfish snake.

John Sullivan / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Graham’s Crayfish Snake

Graham’s crayfish snakes prefer to live in streams or rivers and sometimes will live near lakes. You can also find them in the small ponds and inlets of the Mississippi River in the Delta. These small brown snakes burrow into the mud and soil on the edge of the water. They eat mostly crayfish and frogs, digging into the dirt on the sides of the shore or down deep on the bottom for food. Fishermen often encounter Graham’s crayfish snakes when fishing. They won’t hurt you but it’s still a good idea to leave them alone.

Queen Snake

Most queen snakes are about two feet long. Queen snakes are usually gray or brown with orange or yellow stripes on the sides and orange or yellow bellies. They look similar to garter snakes in some ways. Queen snakes are semi-aquatic and will spend time in and out of the water. Typically they make their homes near streams, irrigation ditches, or other areas where there are lots of rocks they can hide under.

Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata)
Queen snakes are usually gray or brown with orange or yellow stripes on the sides and orange or yellow bellies.

Nathan A Shepard/Shutterstock.com

Cottonmouth

Cottonmouth snakes are the only venomous water snake in Arkansas. When you see a water snake in Arkansas immediately look at its mouth. If the mouth region has white colored patches or if there is a white patch inside the snake’s mouth it’s a cottonmouth snake. If you come across a cottonmouth snake be very cautious. A cottonmouth bite needs immediate medical attention.

Cottonmouth vs Water Snake - Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth snakes are the only venomous water snake in Arkansas.

KF2017/Shutterstock.com

Venomous Snakes In Arkansas

Arkansas has six types of venomous snakes. Most of the venomous snakes in Arkansas are rattlesnakes. So it’s smart to always be listening for a rattle. When there is a rattlesnake is nearby you may be able to hear a warning rattle before you even see the snake. The venomous snakes in Arkansas include the Cottonmouth water snake and also:

Copperhead Rattlesnake

Copperhead rattlesnakes aren’t very large. The maximum length that a Copperhead can achieve is about four feet. But Copperheads are still scary snakes because of the very heavy and wide bodies that they have. Copperhead rattlesnakes have a very unique reddish copper to copper color that will instantly let you know if a snake is a copperhead. These snakes can and do thrive just about anywhere so you can find them in both rural and residential areas.

Close-up of venomous <a href=Copperhead Snake. Its head, whose color gives the snake its common name, is broad and wedge-shaped.” class=”wp-image-130754″/>
Close-up of venomous Copperhead Snake. Its head, whose color gives the snake its common name, is broad and wedge-shaped.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western diamondback rattlesnakes are large for rattlesnakes. They are about five feet long. You can always spot a Western diamondback rattlesnake by the very distinct diamond pattern in black that runs down the back. If you are in an area where there are rocky outcroppings or lots of rocks and you see a brown snake with black diamonds down the back get out of that snake’s area as quickly as you can.

Western diamondback rattlesnakes are large pit vipers.

Audrey Snider-Bell/Shutterstock.com

Timber Rattlesnake

If you’re hiking, camping, or working in cropland areas, agricultural areas, or forested areas you should keep an eye out for timber rattlesnakes. Timber rattlesnakes can be up to six feet long. With that length and their unique rattle you can’t miss them. Although their brown and tan coloring does help them blend into the vegetation in the fields. The best thing you can do if you come upon a rattlesnake is to stop moving. Totally stop moving. Then after a beat slowly start back up the way you came. Most rattlesnakes won’t strike at you unless they feel threatened. So if you stay calm they will stay calm.

Rattlesnakes While HIking - Timber Rattlesnake
If you’re hiking, camping, or working in cropland areas, agricultural areas, or forested areas you should keep an eye out for timber rattlesnakes.

Joe McDonald/Shutterstock.com

Western Pygmy Rattlesnake

Western pygmy rattlesnakes have the potent venom of a rattlesnake just in a very small package. Pygmy rattlesnakes are mostly about a foot to a foot and a half long. They are usually grey with black markings and a red or orange stripes running down their sides.

Western pygmy rattlesnakes have the potent venom of a rattlesnake just in a very small package.

Gerald A. DeBoer/Shutterstock.com

Texas Coral Snake

Coral snakes are about four feet long and brightly colored. They are hard to miss, which is good because they are very dangerous. If you see a snake that has bright red bands with thin yellow bands next to them get out of the area fast. Coral snakes look very similar to some other types of snakes that are harmless. But coral snakes can kill you. The best way to know if you are facing a coral snake or a harmless snake is to look at the bands. If there is a red back with thin yellow bands on either side of it that’s a coral snake. If it has red bands with white or black bands immediately after it then it’s not a coral snake.

Coral snakes look very similar to some other types of snakes that are harmless. But coral snakes can kill you.

iStock.com/amwu

A Complete List Of Snakes In Arkansas

Anytime you’re in a state with this many snakes, especially so many venomous snakes, it’s smart to keep a sharp lookout for snakes. Always look for movement in bushes or trees and in the foliage next to trails and paths. Snakes may be nearby whenever there is movement. A complete list of the snakes in Arkansas is:

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Western Diamondback rattlesnake closeup
Western diamondback rattlesnakes are large pitvipers.
Audrey Snider-Bell/Shutterstock.com
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which snakes are venomous in Arkansas?

  • Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
  • Timber Rattlesnake
  • Copperhead
  • Western Pygmy Rattlesnake
  • Texas Coral Snake
  • Cottonmouth

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