15 Snakes In Wyoming
Wyoming is not for the weak when it comes to people or animals. Wyoming has vast stretches of some very rugged terrain. There are several large national parks in Wyoming including Yellowstone, which was the first national park in the U.S. Wyoming has the Rocky Mountains, large swaths of grass plains, and the Red Desert, which is the largest living dune system in the U.S. The large open grasslands, desert, and mountains are the ideal habitats for many different types of snakes. Most of the snakes that you might find in Wyoming are not venomous. However, always keep an eye out for snakes when you are exploring in open land like Wyoming.
Types of Snakes
There are 15 different types of snakes that are native to Wyoming, and 12 of them are not venomous. Still, any snake can strike out or bite if startled or threatened. When you’re hiking, camping, or exploring national parks in Wyoming you should wear long pants, keep the tops of your pants inside your boots, and watch the ground in front of you and to the sides of you. You just might see one of these snakes:
Rubber boa snakes like hot habitats where there are rocks to sun on. They very much enjoy hot sunny weather, but hide from humans. So if you’re hiking in the Red Desert and there is a rubber boa snake nearby you may not even know it. Typically rubber boas stay small at just about a foot to a foot and a half long. But they are wide solidly built snakes even though they are short. These snakes have smooth scales and a uniform gray or tan color that helps them blend into their surroundings. They will appear shiny though, like rubber.
Red-Sided Garter Snake
The red-sided garter snake is one of the many different types of garter snakes. This particular snake is not common though. You will only see the red-sided garter snake in eastern Wyoming and in California. This garter snake is colorful and has a base color of tan or olive with bright red stripes on the side and down the center of the back. There are also usually some black and red squares on the belly of this snake. Sometimes the stripes can be blue or yellow. The red-sided garter snake is usually only about three feet long.
Smooth Green Snake
Smooth green snakes prefer woodland areas that are wet and grassy, but they can actually do quite well in a wide range of environments. That’s one of the reasons why they can be found throughout Wyoming and in many other states. These snakes are bright green, which helps them hide among the forest vegetation. They are not very large and usually are just over a foot long. Their scaled give them a very smooth and even appearance which is why they are called smooth green snakes. There is another type of snake called a rough green snake which has scaled that give it a textured look. If you see a bright green snake that looks shiny like glass that’s a smooth green snake.
Pacific Gopher Snake
The Pacific gopher snake is a large snake that can be up to seven feet long. But typically they are between three feet and seven feet long. These long, thin snakes are usually yellow, tan, or brown with dark brown spots running the length of the body. The Pacific gopher snake is harmless to humans. But if it’s threatened or startled it may puff up its body and shake its tail very hard mimicking the way that a rattlesnake shakes. It’s just trying to scare you because it is scared. It’s not venomous. If you slowly leave the area the snake will most likely flee.
Striped Whip Snake
The striped whip snake is typically found is sage brush areas and flat lands but it can also be found in the mountains like the Rocky Mountain region of Wyoming. You will also see these snakes in Grand Teton National Park. Striped whip snakes are not longer than six feet long and they are very thin. They are called whip snakes because when they are coiled up they look like a coiled whip because they are long and thin. Most of the time these snakes are dark olive to dark tan with cream or yellow striped running down the sides of the entire length of the snake. They may some red or pinkish red on their tail.
Western Hognose Snake
You can always tell a western hognose snake by its snout. These snakes have an unmistakable upturned snout that they use to dig in loose, dry, sandy soil. In the Red Desert you will often see western hognose snakes crossing trails and burrowing into the sandy dry soil. These snakes can resemble venomous cottonmouth snakes but cottonmouths are water snakes. There are not cottonmouth snakes in Wyoming. There are only three types of venomous snakes in Wyoming and they are all rattlesnakes. So don’t let the western hognose snake scare you because it won’t hurt you.
Venomous Snakes In Wyoming
Wyoming has three different kinds of venomous snakes, which is less than some other states but the venomous snakes in Wyoming are snakes that aren’t common even in other states. The venomous snakes in Wyoming are:
Pacific rattlesnakes, sometimes called Northern Pacific rattlesnakes, are not large snakes. They almost always are around 40 inches long. But they pack a powerful bite, so be extremely cautious around these snakes. They are usually dark brown, dark gray, or black with lighter shaded blotches and a very distinct rattle. This rattlesnake can thrive in a wide variety of habitats so it can be found almost anywhere. Pacific rattlesnakes can strike fast and hard. If you are bitten by a Pacific rattlesnake you need to get medical help immediately.
Faded Midget Rattlesnake
As you may have guessed from the name the faded midget rattlesnake is quite small. Most of these snakes are less than two feet long. But what they lack in size they make up for in potency. A bite from a faded midget rattlesnake is very serious and requires immediate medical intervention. As the venom works its way through the body it will cause the destruction of red blood cells which can cause your tissue to die. Faded midget rattlesnakes are usually a very pale tan or pale brown with light markings.
When you are hiking or camping in Wyoming, especially in the Red Desert area and in the national parks, always be watching and listening for rattlesnakes. Walk extremely carefully and deliberately and be sure of where you putting your feet each time you take a step.
Like most of the other venomous snakes in Wyoming western rattlesnakes are usually various shades of brown, tan, and black. Those colors help snakes blend into the landscape in many parts of Wyoming, especially the national parks which are basically wilderness. One of the characteristics of western rattlesnakes is that they can climb into shrubs, bushes and trees.
So you should be watching the ground for any rattlesnakes in the area but also be wary of trees, shrubs and bushes. A rattlesnake could pop out and surprise you. And if you surprise it back you could get bitten. If you do see a rattlesnake don’t scream and don’t run away. Freeze in place. Then move slowly and deliberately backing up until you are out of the snake’s striking range. Then you can scream if you want.
A Complete List Of Snakes In Wyoming
As a general rule you should treat every snake as if it were venomous even though most of the snakes in Wyoming are not venomous. Treat each snake with caution. Never try to approach them or grab them. Don’t try to feed them or get close to them. And remember that this is the complete list of snakes you will find in Wyoming:
- Rubber Boa
- Northern American Black Racer
- Western Hognose Snake
- Red-Sided Garter Snake
- Milk Snake
- Smooth Green Snake
- Pacific Gopher Snake
- Red -Bellied Snake
- Western Terrestrial Garter Snake
- Plains Garter Snake
- Striped Whip Snake
- Common Garter Snake
- Pacific Rattlesnake
- Faded Midget Rattlesnake
- Western Rattlesnake
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is the Western Hognose a venemous snake?
No. These snakes can resemble venomous cottonmouth snakes but cottonmouths are water snakes and the western hognose is neither venomous nor a water snake.
Why should I be aware of the trees and shrubs and not just the ground when outdoors in Wyoming?
One of the characteristics of western rattlesnakes is that they can climb into shrubs, bushes and trees.
What was the first national park?
Yellowstone National Park is the first national park created and it is located in Wyoming.
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