The Most Snake-Infested Lakes In Ohio in 2024

Written by Chanel Coetzee
Updated: June 13, 2023
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Key Points

  • There are seven water snakes in Ohio.
  • All water snakes in this state are non-venomous. Luckily the only aquatic venomous snake in the USA, the cottonmouth, does not occur in Ohio.
  • Lake Erie is home to the most aquatic and semi-aquatic snakes in Ohio

Ohio has the perfect environment to house several species of snakes. As a result, around 25 to 30 species of snakes inhabit the Buckeye State. Furthermore, seven species of water snakes occupy the aquatic habitats of Ohio, and it comes as no surprise since this state borders Lake Erie. But this great lake is not the only snake-infested lake in Ohio. There are several lakes in the state that house aquatic and semi-aquatic snakes, and they are listed below.

Common watersnake

The common watersnake is one of seven water snakes that live in Ohio lakes.

©Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com

Water Snakes Found In Ohio Lakes

There are seven water snakes in the Buckeye State that are either fully aquatic or semi-aquatic. Namely, the:

Copper-bellied water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta)

Copper-bellied water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta) lives in Ohio lakes.

©Mike Wilhelm/Shutterstock.com

Five Most Snake-Infested Lakes In Ohio

Mosquito Creek Lake is situated in northeastern Ohio and is notorious for its recreational activities.

©

While Ohio has several species of snakes, several lakes in the state make ideal habitats for the above-mentioned snakes. Here are the five of the most snake-infested lakes in Ohio:

1. Lake Erie

The Marblehead Lighthouse on the edge of Lake Erie in Ohio, USA

The average water temperature of Lake Erie in summer is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but the maximum is approximately 85 degrees.

©Sara Winter/Shutterstock.com

The fourth largest of the five Great Lakes is Lake Erie. Furthermore, it forms borders between Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. It is the warmest of all the Great Lakes in North America because of its southernmost position. The average water temperature of Lake Erie in summer is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but the maximum is approximately 85 degrees, making it an incredibly popular recreational area. However, winter temperatures reach freezing. In fact, this Lake Erie freezes over more than any other Great Lake because it’s so shallow, with an average depth of 62 feet. Ohio’s largest lake is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including snakes. Therefore, it is home to the most species of aquatic and semi-aquatic snakes in the state, which include:

  • Common water snake
  • Eastern fox snake
  • Common ribbonsnake
  • Lake Erie water snake

2. Indian Lake

Geese on Indian Lake in Ohio

Indian Lake, Ohio is home to geese and other wildlife, including the common water snake.

©Cathryn Anatra/Shutterstock.com

While the Indian Lake is a fun spot to unwind today, it wasn’t always meant for that purpose. This lake was initially constructed in 1851 to be a feeder lake for the Erie and Miami canal to maintain their 4-foot water depths. Building this lake was no easy task, and it cost approximately $340,000, which was a lot of money back then. Indian Lake was built by Irish laborers with shovels, picks, and carts and was finally completed in 1893. This lake is home to the common water snake that is often seen swimming through its waters.

3. Pymatuning Reservoir

A scenic view of an old stone gate house on the water of Pymatuning Reservoir lake in USA

At Pymatuning Reservoir, the only snake you’ll likely see is the common water snake.


©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

This lake is situated in Ashtabula County, Ohio, and Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Before the construction of this reservoir, this area was a swamp. Furthermore, Pymatuning Reservoir is split into two state parks, Pymatuning State Park in Ohio and Pymatuning State Park in Pennsylvania. This lake was created in 1933 when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania built a dam on one of the outlets of the Pymatuning swamp for flood control, water conservation, regulating stream flow, and reaction. Lake Pymatuning spans over 16,349 acres, making it the largest inland lake in Ohio. Additionally, it provides habitats for various wildlife, including snakes. However, the only aquatic snake that inhabits this reservoir is the common water snake.

4. Grand Lake St. Mary

Lake St Marys

Grand Lake St. Mary offers visitors 52 miles of shoreline for fishing and boating. In addition, there are picnic tables, a swimming pool, and family camping grounds.

©Boinicotti/Shutterstock.com

The Grand Lake St. Mary was dug by hand and originally constructed as a feeder reservoir for the Erie and Miami Canals. This lake was the biggest reservoir in the world when it was initially built. Because of Grand Lake St. Mary’s link between the Great  Lakes and the Ohio River, it played an important role in opening up the Northwest Territory. However, today Grand Lake St. Mary offers visitors 52 miles of shoreline for fishing and boating. In addition, there are picnic tables, a swimming pool, and family camping grounds. While enjoying a getaway to this man-made lake, keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area, including the one aquatic snake, the common water snake.

5. Mosquito Creek Lake

Mosquito Creek Lake, located in Cortland, Ohio, is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District. The reservoir provides flood protection for the Mahoning River Valley as

Mosquito Creek Lake is known for fishing and boating but be aware that is home to the common water snake, Eastern fox snake, and Copper-bellied water snake.

©Aqeela_Image/Shutterstock.com

The Mosquito Creek Lake has 7000 acres of surface area, making it one of the largest lakes in Ohio. In addition, it is surrounded by 2,483 acres of expansive marshes and mature woodlands, which is heaven for the wildlife in the area. This lake is situated in northeastern Ohio and is notorious for its recreational activities, which include fishing, boating, hiking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling in winter. But it is also one of the most snake-infested lakes in Ohio, as it plays host to the common water snake, Eastern fox snake, and Copper-bellied water snake.

Summary Of The Most Snake-Infested Lakes In Ohio in 2024

RankLakesSnake Species
1Lake ErieCommon water snake; Eastern fox snake; Common ribbonsnake; Lake Erie water snake  
2Indian LakeCommon water snake
3Pymatuning ReservoirCommon water snake
4Grand Lake St. MaryCommon water snake
5Mosquito Creek LakeCommon water snake; Eastern fox snake; Copper-bellied water snake
Summary Table Of The Most Snake-Infested Lakes In Ohio

Other Animals Found Near Lakes In Ohio

The lakes in Ohio also service other wildlife. The Buckeye State is home to an abundance of wildlife, and most of them tend to stay close to water sources for sustenance. These animals include:

American Black Bear

Black bears were once abundant in Ohio, but sadly, hunting was unregulated, and habitat loss contributed to their demise. As a result, by 1850, all the black bears in the Buckeye State were eradicated. However, currently, there is a small growing population of these bears in Ohio. This population is estimated to consist of 50 to 100 individuals.

Red Fox

Ohio is home to two species of fox, the red fox and the gray fox. However, there are five species of foxes in North America, including:

  • Kit foxes
  • Arctic foxes
  • Gray Foxes
  • Red Foxes
  • Swift Foxes

The red fox can inhabit various habitats, from forests to deserts to snow-covered tundras. They are incredibly adaptable, which isn’t too hard to believe because they come from the Canidae family, including coyotes, wolves, and dogs.

Close up of a red fox in a forest, UK.

The red fox is a resident of Ohio.

©Giedriius/Shutterstock.com

Striped Skunk

Nobody wants to run into a striped skunk, but it is possible when visiting the lakes in Ohio, as they occur in every county in the state. These critters are in no danger because their population continues to grow each year in the Buckeye State. However, they are most abundant in rural Ohio, which consists of many farms, forests, and old fields. But, they also occur in urban areas, where they scavenge through trash for food. So, if you happen to see one, stay as far away as possible because you don’t want to get hit with their musk, which they can spray accurately up to 15 feet!

Skunk, Netherlands, Animal, Close-up, Color Image

Striped skunks live in every county of Ohio.

©iStock.com/Edwin_Butter

Osprey

If you are looking for an Osprey, you can typically find them at any lake or reservoir throughout the state. However, the largest concentrations occur in central and northeast Ohio. These birds are attracted to lakes because their diets consist primarily of fish, typically 4 to 12 inches in length, including:

  • Flounder
  • Smelt
  • Mullet
  • Bullhead
  • Sucker
  • Gizzard shad

But they also prey on other animals like birds, small mammals, or reptiles.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Karl Zhong/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Chanel Coetzee is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on big cats, dogs, and travel. Chanel has been writing and researching about animals for over 10 years. She has also worked closely with big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and tigers at a rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa since 2009. As a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Chanel enjoys beach walks with her Stafford bull terrier and traveling off the beaten path.

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