The Most Snake-Infested Lakes in Mississippi

Stairway Into Sardis Lake
Jordan Hill Photography/

Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Updated: July 3, 2023

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One of the most common snakes in the Ross Barnett Reservoir is the cottonmouth snake.

Mississippi has no shortage of snakes. Although this is true, they are rarely dangerous or fatal. For instance, there have been no fatal snake bites recorded in Mississippi. This doesn’t mean though you should touch or mess with a wild snake! They can still bite, leading to infections and unnecessary pain. In the state, there are at least 55 snake species, and 6 of them are water snakes. Where do these snakes live? Are there lakes with more snake activity than others? Follow along to discover the most snake-infested lakes in Mississippi.

Water Snakes in Mississippi

You can find snakes just about anywhere in Mississippi. However, most snakes live near lakes, rivers, ponds, or creeks. Water snakes are especially common in lakes. Thankfully, none of these water snakes are venomous, but they still pack a powerful and painful bite!

While swimming or walking near a lake, you may encounter plain-bellied water snakes, midland water snakes, Mississippi green water snakes, banded water snakes, salt marsh snakes, and diamond-backed water snakes. Another name for the banded water snake is the southern water snake. The only water snake from this article you won’t find in a freshwater lake is the salt marsh snake. It’s nocturnal and mainly lives in salt marshes on the coast.

The midland water snake can be found in many freshwater Mississippi lakes.

3 Snake-Infested Lakes in Mississippi

This list of the 3 most snake-infested lakes in Mississippi is not ranked by order. It’s difficult to accurately pinpoint how many snakes live in a lake. Also, there is no exact definition for an “infestation.” Snakes don’t infest lakes, they just live in their habitats. However, there are a few lakes in Mississippi with consistent and frequent reports of snakes. Follow along to learn about these 3 lakes.

Sardis Lake

Sardis Lake is a 98,520-acre reservoir about an hour’s drive from Memphis, Tennessee. The Sardis Dam, which stretches about 15,300 feet created this lake. The primary inflow and outflow of this lake is the Tallahatchie River. This lovely sparkling reservoir is perfect for fishing and boating. Apart from snakes, you can also find many fish species like largemouth bass, white bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish.

Although you don’t have to worry about thousands of snakes at your feet while fishing or boating, there have been reports of banded water snakes in the lake.

Sardis Lake

Sardis Lake is a man-made lake with a surface area of 98,520 acres.

Ross Barnett Reservoir

Another lake in Mississippi filled with snakes is the Ross Barnett Reservoir. It’s often called the Rez by locals. The primary inflow and outflow for this lake is the Pearl River. It’s about 16 miles long and 7 miles wide. This lake isn’t very big and only has a surface area of about 52 square miles. The depth of the lake varies, but the average depth is 12 feet, while the maximum recorded depth is 60 feet. While visiting, you can enjoy many recreational activities along the 105 miles of shoreline.

Although Ross Barnett Reservoir isn’t the largest lake in the state, it’s very popular and sees about 2 million visitors every year. One of the most common snakes in the lake is the cottonmouth snake.

Sunrise over the Ross Barnett Reservoir

A common snake in Ross Barnett Reservoir is the cottonmouth.

Bay Springs Lake

Last but not least is Bay Springs Lake, a 9-mile-long reservoir on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. This beautiful lake is a favorite for locals who enjoy swimming, fishing, and camping. Bay Springs Lake also offers a visitor center with more information about the lake and the area. It’s not uncommon to see snakes in the lake or along the edges. Other than snakes, you can also see smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass.

Bay springs lake

Snakes are common in Bay Springs Lake and the surrounding area.

Other Animals Found Near Lakes In Mississippi

Many animals live in Mississippi lakes, including American alligators. These large reptiles are most common in the southeast. Apart from alligators in marshes and lakes, you can also find many fish species. Channel catfish, blue catfish, white crappie, yellow bass, and spotted gar are favorites for anglers.

Some animals simply live near lakes and use them as a source of drinking water. Coyotes and white-tailed deer live in wooded areas surrounding lakes. Although not as common as other animals, you can sometimes see North American river otters in the Mississippi River and nearby lakes. Other than fish though, the most abundant animals near lakes are birds. Bird watchers have a great time viewing wading birds like little blue herons, great egrets, and snowy egrets.

Summary of The Most Snake-Infested Lakes in Mississippi

1Sardis LakePanola, Lafayette, and Marshall counties
2Ross Barnett Reservoirthe Pearl River between Madison and Rankin counties
3Bay Springs LakeTishomingo and Prentiss counties on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
Summary Table of The Most Snake-Infested Lakes in Mississippi

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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