47 Snakes In Oklahoma

Written by Tracy Graham
Updated: December 27, 2022
© Marcum Havens/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points:

  • Oklahoma has more snakes than almost any other state in the country – with 47 different types.
  • With a variety of ecosystems in one large area – Oklahoma provides a perfect habitat for a variety of snakes.
  • There are seven types of venomous snakes in Oklahoma – more than most states.

From lush grasslands to multiple mountain ranges Oklahoma has just about every type of natural landscape contained in one state. There is a lot of wildlife in Oklahoma, including a lot of snakes. Oklahoma is near the top of the list of states that have the most snakes. There are almost 50 native types of snakes in this state! And seven of those different types of snakes are venomous. So when you’re in Oklahoma it’s a smart idea to keep a sharp eye on the ground all around you no matter what you’re doing outdoors.

47 Snakes In Oklahoma

Oklahoma flag
Oklahoma is near the top of the list of states that have the most snakes.

©Box Lab/Shutterstock.com

Even though it might seem like there’s an exceptionally large number of snakes in Oklahoma when you think about how many different types of habitats there are for snakes in Oklahoma it doesn’t seem surprising that there are so many. Just a few of the snakes that you can find in Oklahoma are:

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Glossy Snake

The Glossy snake is a nocturnal snake that likes to stay hidden so in Oklahoma you probably won’t see this snake unless you are out and active late at night or early in the morning before it gets light. Glossy snakes have smooth scaled with a reflective quality that makes them look like glass. They are usually gray or green with white bellies. The longest Glossy snakes can be up to four and a half feet long. But often they are more in the three to four foot range.

Glossy Swampsnake
Glossy snakes are nocturnal, meaning you will likely only see them late at night or early in the morning before sunrise.

©Nathan A Shepard/Shutterstock.com

Great Plains Rat Snake

The Great Plains Rat snake can be various shades of brown and tan with large irregular shaped blotches for markings. This Rat snake never gets longer than three feet but can be as small as two feet long. Rat snakes are heavy and look like they might be aggressive but they really aren’t. They prefer to stay away from people. Great Plains Rat snakes typically are found in wooded areas or in grasslands. And they often take up residence in old buildings, barns, and sheds and eat the rodents they find in those buildings. If you are cleaning out an old building you might find a Great Plains Rat snake but it won’t bother you if you don’t bother it.

The juvenile eastern rat snake has brown to black blotches on a gray background (sometimes yellowish), and a somewhat squared-off snout.
A Great Plains Rat Snake look like they may be aggressive but they really aren’t.

©Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com

Coachwhip Snake

Coachwhip snakes are found to the east and west of I-81 cutting through Oklahoma and each type of Coachwhip has a different color pattern depending on where the snake is from. Eastern Coachwhip snakes have a body where the upper portion is black and it fades gradually to a red brown color on the lower half. Western Coachwhip snakes are solid color, usually black, and have a pinkish red belly. Coachwhips can be up to a whopping six feet long and they move very quickly. It can also climb and may seek refuge in a tree if you surprise it. These snakes will bite if cornered or if they think they are being threatened but they are not venomous.

Prairie Coachwhip Snake
Coachwhip snakes will bite when cornered but are non-venomous.

©Joe Farah/Shutterstock.com

Prairie King Snake

The Prairie King snake is found throughout Oklahoma. These snakes are typically just three to four feet long but they have a heavy appearance. The body of the Prairie King snake is typically brown or tan with darker brown or black markings down the entire body. King snakes are sociable and don’t mind being around people. Because they aren’t scared of humans they often can be found hunting or nesting in old buildings, in fallen trees, and around homes and yards. Even though the Prairie King snake isn’t a threat to humans you should still be careful around them. Any snake can bite or be aggressive if it feels threatened.

Prairie Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster) - Illinois
A Prairie King Snake is sociable and doesn’t mind being around humans.


Northern Water Snake

Northern Water snakes are fully aquatic and can live in any type of water. Typically in Oklahoma you will find them near lakes or ponds in the flat central regions but you can also find them in mountain streams and other bodies of water. These snakes are not long. Some are not even two feet long. But they have a very heavy and wide body so they look bigger than they are. Water snakes have similar coloring to the Cottonmouth snake but they are not venomous like Cottonmouths. If you’re not sure if a snake is a Northern Water snake or a Cottonmouth look at the mouth. If the area near the mouth is white it’s probably a Cottonmouth but if there is no white then it’s a non-venomous Northern Water snake.

northern water snake in water
The Northern Water Snake can be confused for the venomous Cottonmouth.


Venomous Snakes in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has a high number of venomous snakes compared to other states. It has one of the highest numbers of venomous snakes. Some of the venomous snakes in Oklahoma are:

Copperhead Snake

In Oklahoma the Copperhead snake is mostly found in the eastern part of the state. There is a very solid population of Copperheads so always keep a sharp eye on the ground when you are raking leaves, cutting grass, or hiking in some of the state’s many state parks.  Copperheads are only a couple of feet long but they are very wide. You can’t miss their distinctive copper color and unique markings but they will give a rattle to let you know they are there. These snakes are more likely to bite than other types of venomous snakes so always be very careful around Copperhead snakes.

What Does a Copperhead Snake Look Like
The Copperhead Snake is more likely to bite than other types of venomous snakes, so be careful when around them.

©Joe McDonald/Shutterstock.com

Cottonmouth Snake

Cottonmouth snakes are aquatic and venomous. So if you’re the kind of person that spends time on the water boating or near the water fishing you should be watching for Cottonmouth snakes. Cottonmouths are usually dark olive to black and have solid colored bodies. Their bellies are usually white or cream colored. But the feature that you should look for to see if a snake is a Cottonmount is a patch of white around the outside of the snake’s mouth or on in the inside. White mouth means Cottonmouth. And Cottonmouths are venomous so be wary of them.

Cottonmouth Snake
Cottonmouth Snakes are aquatic and venomous. Be on the lookout when boating and fishing in Oklahoma.

©Marcum Havens/Shutterstock.com

Western Diamond Back Rattlesnake

Western Diamond Back rattlesnakes are found in the western part of Oklahoma. These venomous snakes have alternating light and dark markings in a diamond pattern that makes this snake easy to identify.  Like most rattlesnakes the Western Diamondback will raise up and rattle before striking whicih should give you time to slowly back away if you come across one.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
Western Diamondback Snakes are found in the western part of Oklahoma.

©Alexander Wong/Shutterstock.com

Western Massasauga Snake

Another small venomous snake is the Western Massasauga snake. In Oklahoma this snake  lives mostly in the western and northern parts of the state. Some Western Massasauga snakes are only about a foot and a half long. The longest ones are under three feet long. Western Massasauga snakes are light brown to tan with dark brown markings.

Iowa Snakes - Massasauga Rattlesnake
In Oklahoma, the Western Massasauga Snake is found in the western and northern parts of the state.


Pygmy Rattlesnake

Pygmy rattlesnakes are the smallest venomous snakes. They are typically just about a foot to a foot and a half long. The Pygmy rattlesnake’s small size actually makes it more dangerous than other larger rattlesnakes. Because the Pygmy is so small you probably won’t see it unless you’re in the snake’s striking range. If you startle a rattlesnake or if it feels cornered because you’re so close to it you may not get a warning rattle. The snake may just bite. Pygmy rattlesnakes are venomous and even though they are tiny their venom is potent.

The Pygmy Rattlesnake is so small, you probably won’t see it until you are within its striking range.

©Gerald A. DeBoer/Shutterstock.com

A Complete List Of Snakes In Oklahoma

There is a good chance that you’re going to run into some snakes if you are outdoors at all in Oklahoma. Whether you live there or you are just visiting when you are fishing, hiking, working outdoors, or enjoying the beautiful country in Oklahoma there probably will be snakes around you. The complete list of snakes that in Oklahoma that you might see are:

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Cottonmouth Snake
Cottonmouths are venomous snakes.
© Marcum Havens/Shutterstock.com

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are some snakes to look out for in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma has a high number of venomous snakes compared to other states. Some of the snakes to look out for is the Pygmy Rattlesnake, Cottonmouth Snake, Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, and Copperhead Snake.

Why does Oklahoma have so many varieties of snakes?

From lush grasslands to multiple mountain ranges Oklahoma has just about every type of natural landscape contained in one state. There is a lot of wildlife in Oklahoma, including a lot of snakes.

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