The Most Snake-Infested Rivers in Minnesota

Leaf river minnesota
© McGhiever, CC BY-SA 3.0

Written by Justin Sexton

Published: September 26, 2023

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Minnesota is a famous state for its sports, nature scenes, waters, and food. The state is next to the famous Lake Superior, one of the Great Lakes. Minnesota is known for its harsh winters regardless of their abnormal consecutive ninety-degree days this year.

“The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes” only has seventeen snake species. Fortunately enough, only two of them are venomous. Minnesota is home to over six thousand natural rivers. This list contains some of the most snake-infested rivers in Minnesota.

What Snakes Live In Minnesota?

Northern Water Snake Wisconsin

Although snakes can be scary, not all snakes are venomous. The Northern Water Snake is a very friendly snake.

©Jason Patrick Ross/

The Northern Water Snake is a common snake in the area. The Nerodia sipedon is a thick, medium snake marked with dark spots and blotches. An adult Nerodia sipedon can grow up to twenty-four to forty-two inches in size. Even though they’re not venomous, they do bite attackers or throw up their last meal to scare attackers.

The Redbelly Snake is a clay red snake that lives all over Minnesota, even in the northeastern region where few snakes in Minnesota live. Redbelly Snakes can be found in woodlands, forests, and near bodies of water.

Although most of the snakes are harmless, the only two venomous snakes are the Timber Rattlesnake and the Eastern Massasauga. Timber rattlesnakes, or their species name Crotalus horridus, occupy the most southeastern part of Minnesota. They’re large snakes, averaging 31-45 inches in length, and have a significant barred body pattern with a gray to tan rattle.   

The other venomous snake in Minnesota is the Eastern Massasauga. It’s smaller than the Timber Rattlesnake and doesn’t have the banded pattern that the Timber Rattlesnake has. It is also grey in color and has similar scales.

The Two Most Snake Filled Rivers In Minnesota

Minnesota’s lakes are more popular homes for snakes than the rivers. Yet the two most snake-infested rivers in Minnesota are The Mississippi River and the St. Croix River.

The Mississippi River

Northern Water Wnakes and Timber Rattlesnakes greatly inhabit the rivers. Timber Rattlesnakes live in the southern parts of the river. They also live in the southern states going further down the river. Western and Eastern Hognose Snakes reside within the Mississippi. Other snakes that inhabit the Mississippi River in Minnesota are Redbelly Snakes, Yellow-bellied Racers, and Fox Snakes.

Eastern Hognose Snake with flattened neck on sandy soil with grass


St. Croix River

Bull Snake with Jaws Open

Bullsnakes try to scare you off by mimicking rattlesnakes.


The St. Croix has a growing population of Bullsnakes. It’s noted that they are an endangered species but they have grown over the past decade. Bullsnakes burrow underground for warmth. The Gopher Snake subspecies make the St. Croix River their home. Gopher Snakes can grow up to six feet in length compared to the Bullsnakes as they grow to one foot in adult size. Gopher Snakes are typically harmless, regardless of their enormous size that can scare many people. Common Garter Snakes can be seen around the river sides, the basins, and in the river itself.


The two most snake-infested rivers in Minnesota are the Mississippi River and the St. Croix River. Those two rivers have snakes around the river more than them being in the water. Yet, some of the snakes can be found in the water. The St. Croix is home to the Bullsnakes who grew in population size the past decade. They also contain Gopher Snakes which can grow up to six feet tall. Now for the Mississippi River, it contains Northern Water Snakes and Timber Rattlesnakes. Redbelly Snakes, Yellow-bellied Racers, and Fox Snakes also inhabit the lengthy river.

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About the Author

Justin is an A-Z Animals Writer that loves to cover places, unique natural disasters, and travel. He has eight years of experience as a writer in the medical and media fields. He wrote for the likes of VCU Health, theMSQshop, PayDay LA, and Comic Book Resources under the penname Jay Guevara. Although he's a full time writer, Justin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science with a background in Community Engagement. After spending over two decades in Richmond, Virginia, Justin now resides in the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga, California. He's a dedicated gymrat. He's also a two-time poetry author who's influenced by rappers Joe Budden and IDK along with Dante Alighieri.

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