Discover the Snakes That Live in the Gulf of Mexico

Written by Megan Martin
Updated: February 1, 2023
© iStock.com/David_Camarillo
Share this post on:
Think You Know Snakes?
Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

If you’re planning a trip to the Gulf of Mexico, you may be wondering what animals you should expect to encounter. Whether out of fear or interest, you may want to learn about the different snakes that live in the Gulf of Mexico.

This complete guide will walk you through everything you need to know about snakes in and around the Gulf of Mexico. Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!

Are there sea snakes in the Gulf of Mexico?

Mississippi Dead Zone
No species of sea snakes are native to the Gulf of Mexico.

©Anton Balazh/Shutterstock.com

61,248 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Although it may seem strange, the Gulf of Mexico is completely devoid of sea snakes! In fact, there aren’t even any sea snakes that are native to the Atlantic Ocean, which means that they’re a rare sight in these waters altogether. 

However, since all of Earth’s oceans are connected, it’s easy for species to end up in places they aren’t naturally found. Certain species of snakes have been able to completely colonize new islands in the past by traversing waters they aren’t native to. 

Have Sea Snakes Been Spotted in the Gulf of Mexico?

While it is possible for sea snakes to enter the Gulf of Mexico, have any snakes actually been spotted here? The answer is, yes!

The yellow-bellied sea snake is a venomous species of sea snake that is found everywhere in the world, except for the Atlantic Ocean. However, while they aren’t native to the gulf region, individuals have been spotted here. 

Snakes Found Near the Gulf of Mexico

While snakes are not native to the Gulf of Mexico, there are many different species of snakes that live on the surrounding land. Below, you’ll find four common species that you may spot when perusing the coastal areas near the Gulf of Mexico. 

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Close Up
This species is actually the largest venomous snake in the United States!

©iStock.com/Wide-River-Rick

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is a common snake in the United States’ southeastern region. It is a type of pit viper, which means it relies on venom rather than constriction to kill its prey. Not only is it a venomous snake, but it is actually the largest venomous snake in the United States! It’s also one of the heaviest.

You can identify this snake by it triangular head and unique tail, which has a noisy rattle. The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is also known for its brown and grey diamond pattern, which is where it gets its name.  

Coachwhip

Pink Coachwhip Snake
There are six different subspecies of coachwhip.

©Nathan A Shepard/Shutterstock.com

The coachwhip is a species of snake that can only be found in the United States and Mexico. As a result, they are a common sight along the coast, although they won’t stray too close to the saltwater itself. 

There are six different subspecies of coachwhip. The eastern coachwhip is the most common around the gulf area. They’re fairly nonaggressive snakes, and they’d much rather flee from you than bite or otherwise attack. Interestingly, their name stems from a myth about them chasing down people and whipping them!

Black Racer

northern black racer
The black racer is one of the longest snakes in the western hemisphere, reaching up to 5 feet in length. 

©Breck P. Kent/Shutterstock.com

The black racer snake, also known as the racer, is one of the fastest snakes in the western hemisphere. They’re also one of the longest, reaching up to around 5 feet in length. 

Although their extreme speed may make them seem like a threat, the black racer, like the coachwhip, actually doesn’t have much interest in chasing down or hurting humans. In fact, they’d much rather use their speed to escape than to attack!

The black racer is found only in North America and Central America. There are 11 different subspecies spread throughout these countries. 

Cottonmouth

Western Cottonmouth
These snakes get their name from the inside of their mouth, which is a bright white color.

©Psychotic Nature/Shutterstock.com

Lastly, another one of the most common snakes that live near the Gulf of Mexico is the cottonmouth. Like the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, this is a venomous species that you’ll need to exercise caution around if you happen to stumble across one. However, unlike with the rattlesnake and its tell-tale rattler, it can be more challenging to identify a cottonmouth.

These snakes get their name from the inside of their mouth, which is a bright white color. They’re common in damp, wet environments, such as swamps and rivers. As a result, while these may not be a species of snake that lives in the Gulf of Mexico, they’re still extremely common in the surrounding areas. If you’re hiking in the forested areas nearby, make sure to pay a close eye on where you step. These snakes can easily blend in with their environment. An accidental run-in can be dangerous for both you and them! As a result, it’s important to be cautious.

Up Next

Discover the "Monster" Snake 5X Bigger than an Anaconda

Every day A-Z Animals sends out some of the most incredible facts in the world from our free newsletter. Want to discover the 10 most beautiful snakes in the world, a "snake island" where you're never more than 3 feet from danger, or a "monster" snake 5X larger than an anaconda? Then sign up right now and you'll start receiving our daily newsletter absolutely free.


More from A-Z Animals


The Featured Image

Florida - US State, Snake, Animal Wildlife, Animals In The Wild, Everglades National Park
If you live in the state of Florida, it's best to assume that there are snakes everywhere.
© iStock.com/David_Camarillo

Share this post on:
About the Author

I'm a writer with almost five years of experience. I recently graduated from Wingate University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a double minor in biology and professional and technical writing. I love everything animals and nature related! The American kestrel is my favorite animal, but I also like sharks and alligators. In my free time, I like to watch documentaries and explore nature.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.