Home » 39 Snakes in Utah (Pictures and Identification)

39 Snakes in Utah (Pictures and Identification)

The state of Utah is well known for its magnificent scenery, which includes towering mountains and amazing rock formations sculpted by eons of erosion. Utah’s abundant natural snake population is another noteworthy feature. More than thirty different snake species find perfect habitats in the state’s highlands, semi-desert regions, and rocky terrain types.

Known as “rattlesnake country,” Utah is home to many different types of rattlesnakes. Interestingly, all of Utah’s poisonous snakes are either related species or rattlesnakes. Read on to learn about the 39 common snake species in Utah, as well as their characteristics and how to identify them, to help you avoid encountering a venomous snake unintentionally.

Species of Venomous Snakes in Utah

Hopi Rattlesnake

Snakes in Utah

Named for the Hopi tribe of Native Americans, the Hopi Rattlesnake is located in southern Utah and Arizona. It is distinguished from the Prairie Rattlesnake by its size, making it the smallest rattlesnake in the area. It is nocturnal, hunting at night or in the early morning to feed on tiny animals and lizards while avoiding the heat of the day.

Its venomous poisons are hemotoxic and neurotoxic, and in rare instances, they can be fatal to humans. It hides throughout the day to evade predators.

Midget Faded Rattlesnake

Snakes in Utah

Despite its diminutive stature, the Midget Faded Rattlesnake is the most lethal venomous snake in North America, with neurotoxic effects that attack the nervous system. It hunts at night and feeds on lizards and small mammals.

It raises its head and shakes its tail to warn off potential threats. The snake will strike if the attacker does not back down. Despite its small size, this extremely poisonous species is a powerful predator.

Mojave Green Rattlesnake

Snakes in Utah

The world’s most venomous snake, the Mojave Green Rattlesnake, can continue to spit poison even after it has died. Its venom takes time to manifest, frequently deluding people into believing they are safe. In Southwestern Utah, this snake lives in desert regions and on mountain slopes.

It is distinguished by its green coloring and dark diamond patterns on its back. It hibernates the other months of the year and is active from April to September.

Speckled Rattlesnake

Snakes in Utah

Named for American physician Silas Weir Mitchell, the Speckled Rattlesnake exhibits coloring that reflects its surroundings, with dark rings on its tail and dark blotches and speckles on its back.

It can be found in Southwest Utah’s rocky regions, where it can find several hiding places. This species ambushes prey by camouflaging itself into its surroundings and feeding on mice, birds, and lizards.

Western Terrestrial Garter Snake

Snakes in Utah

Because several subspecies of the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake have different colors and patterns, it can be difficult to identify them. This snake is found in Utah. With its dark colors and light stripes on its back, the Wandering Garter Snake stands out among the others. It can move both on land and in water with ease, and it thrives in mountains, woods, and meadows.

Although somewhat poisonous, its venom does not represent a risk to people; instead, it is mostly used to immobilize small animals. They take some time to eat their prey, even though they are not very good hunters.

Great Basin Rattlesnake

Snakes in Utah

The Great Basin Native to western Utah’s Great Basin, rattlesnakes are adaptable to a variety of environments, although they particularly like arid, sparsely vegetated places. This species has dark blotches on its back and a color pattern that combines green, brown, and gray. An adult has a maximum reach of 48 inches (121 cm) and a lifespan of roughly 17 years.

Being a poisonous snake, it hunts by using its venom and frequently curls up to ambush its victim. Eating rodents, birds, bird eggs, and other reptiles, it is a proficient predator thanks to its keen sense of smell and night vision. Predatory birds, such as hawks, are their primary predators.

Great Prairie Rattlesnake

Snakes in Utah

Situated in Southeast Utah, the Great Prairie Rattlesnake can grow up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) in length and is extremely venomous. It’s difficult to tell them apart by sex, though males usually have longer tails. A female’s oviposition capacity might reach up to 20 eggs.

These snakes are adept hunters that can be found in trees and on the ground, where they can ambush their victims. They are effective predators best viewed from a safe distance because they have a reputation for slaying their prey in a single bite.


Snakes in Utah

The Sidewinder snake, so named because of its unusual sideways movement, lives in desert areas where its S-shaped motion makes it easier for it to traverse through sandy ground. This modification reduces exposure to extremely hot earth temperatures. The Sidewinder, which may be recognized by the little horns over its eyes, employs these characteristics to protect its eyes from sand.

It hunts at night, preferring to prey on lizards and small rodents. It rattles its tail to alert intruders when it feels threatened. Because of its unique adaptations, this snake can thrive in the arid regions of the southwest of the United States.

Species of Non-venomous Snakes in Utah

Western Blind Snake

Snakes in Utah

The Western Blind Snake, with its pale pink color and solitary scale on its head, is an odd hybrid of a snake and a worm. Its underground home has completely deprived it of sight, making it adapted for life underground. This species mostly consumes eggs, larvae, termites, and ants.

It uses defensive strategies, like pretending to be dead or releasing an unpleasant stench from its cloaca, when threatened. The Western Blind Snake’s adaptations aid in its survival in its unique underground habitat.

Western Patch-Nosed Snake

Snakes in Utah

The patch-like scales on the snout of the Western Patch-Nosed Snake, which help in excavating lizard eggs, make it easy to identify. This snake, which is active during the day, is found in the southwest region of Utah and presents little risk to people.

Its preference for semi-arid environments with loose soil allows it to dig more easily. The unique adaptations and preferred habitats of this species help it to hunt and survive in the untamed areas of its range.

Western Ground Snake

Snakes in Utah

The Western Ground Snake, sometimes referred to as the Variable Ground Snake, exhibits a variety of hues and patterns, such as red, orange, or brown tones with differing bands and stripes. It lives well in rocky, arid hillside settings where it can blend in with the surroundings.

This snake is nocturnal and hunts spiders, centipedes, and crickets throughout the night, in contrast to species that are active during the day. It’s an interesting part of the local ecosystems because of its adaptable coloring and nightly habits, which allow it to survive and move successfully in its dry habitat.

Gopher Snake

Snakes in Utah

The Gopher Snake has a unique design on its back that resembles a brown chain with dark dots. It can imitate pit vipers by flattening its head and emitting a loud hiss, and it is well-known for its defensive mimicry. In order to ward off predators, it also mimics a rattlesnake by vibrating its tail against plants.

It is found in the Great Basin and can be seen thriving in a variety of environments, such as water, land, and trees, and it can climb rather well. This species, which gets its name from its favorite meal, the gopher, is essential to maintaining rodent numbers under control in its environment.

Smith’s Black-Headed Snake

Snakes in Utah

The eye-catching black head of the Smith’s Black-Headed Snake contrasts sharply with its pale, spotted body, and a pink stripe that extends down its belly from head to tail. This species, which is nocturnal and subterranean, is named for the biologist Hobart Smith, who is credited with describing American amphibians and reptiles.

Though it is harmless to humans and other mammals, its toxic saliva is mostly employed to immobilize insects. Because of its underground adaptation, the Smith’s Black-Headed Snake helps regulate the number of insects in its natural habitat.

Glossy Snake

Snakes in Utah

Like the Gopher Snake, the Glossy Snake imitates a rattlesnake by tapping its tail against plants, but it goes one step further and actively hunts down its prey. It is not as venomous as gopher snakes, but it is smaller and has a longer snout, which makes its bite less dangerous to people.

It’s interesting to note that this species does well in urban settings and favors habitats like basements and attics. The Glossy Snake is unusual in its adaptations and plays a crucial role in controlling pest populations in human-inhabited environments.

Western Lyre Snake

Snakes in Utah

The medium-sized Western Lyre Snake has eye-catching dark blotches in shades of gray or brown. What makes it so captivating is the size of its eyes. Its venom is somewhat toxic and only affects lizards; humans and other mammals are not at risk.

Recognized for its intelligence, it uses protective strategies to ward off threats, such as imitating a rattlesnake. This species, which is native to southern Utah, is a healthy predator of small reptiles and lizards, which benefits the surrounding ecosystems. It also thrives in a variety of settings.

Great Plains Rat Snake

Snakes in Utah

The Great Plains Rat Snake has a characteristic head pattern with two convergent lines between its eyes. It is usually gray with dark blotches. Its abdomen has an eye-catching black-and-white chessboard-like pattern. Non-venomous yet aggressive, especially in mating season, it imitates a rattlesnake and, in the event of a threat, releases an offensive stench.

This species uses strong defensive mechanisms to ward off predators while feeding on rodents, birds, bird eggs, reptiles, and other snakes. It also plays a significant role in managing pest populations in its habitat.

Ring-Necked Snake

Snakes in Utah

The light-colored ring around the neck of the Ring-Necked Snake sets it apart from its dark-colored body. Its venom is only used for capturing prey; it is harmless to humans despite being venomous. This snake uses constriction to seize its victim, then gives it a bite before finishing it off. Its dark hue helps it blend in with its environment, giving it an advantage in concealment.

Occurring in diverse environments, the Ring-Necked Snake contributes to the regulation of small animal and insect populations by exhibiting its versatile hunting styles and efficient camouflage tactics.

Sonoran Lyre Snake

Snakes in Utah

Similar to the Western Lyre Snake, the Sonoran Lyre Snake has a low level of venom. Its venom can cause swelling and numbness, but it isn’t strong enough to kill humans. This species blends in perfectly with its rocky environment thanks to its tan base color, darker tan blotches, and white spots.

The Sonoran Lyre Snake is a nocturnal predator that feeds on small mammals, birds, lizards, and other snakes. Its ability to change its colors and its propensity for nighttime hunting help it survive and be a more potent predator.

Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake

Snakes in Utah

The distinctive leaf-like nose form of the Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake gives rise to its name. This little snake is whitish, with a few darker spots here and there. It is a shy, nocturnal animal that wants to be concealed. It does best in sandy environments where it can dig with ease because of its unusual nose.

This species, which is found in Utah’s southwest, mostly eats lizards and their eggs. It is an elusive but fascinating predator because of its unique nose and nocturnal habits, which allow it to adapt to its surroundings.

Black-Necked Garter Snake

Snakes in Utah

The remarkable pattern of the Black-Necked Garter Snake has tan lines running over its body, dark gray blotches, and a gray base color. This semi-aquatic species, so named because of the two noticeable dark blotches on its neck, likes areas close to bodies of water. Although fish and amphibians make up the majority of its food, it also feeds on other small animals and snakes.

The Black-Necked Garter Snake is a versatile predator due to its adaptability to both aquatic and terrestrial environments, as well as its wide diet and preferred habitats.

California Kingsnake

Snakes in Utah

The distinctive brown and yellow bands on the California kingsnake make identification simple. It frequently visits residences, is generally harmless to humans, and is nonvenomous. But it’s advisable to keep your distance from it, as it has the potential to bite when threatened.

The California Kingsnake, which resembles a Burmese python in strength, is well-known for its ability to force air out of its prey before eating it. It mostly preys on lizards. It is an impressive species due to its formidable hunting prowess and beautiful appearance.

Eastern Racer

Snakes in Utah

The Eastern Racer is infamous for being hostile and for moving quickly on land. It will attack when threatened, occasionally going after humans or dogs that invade its territory.

The Mormon Racer subspecies, which is found in Utah, is distinguished by its long, thin body, dark gray or dark green base color, and yellow belly. This snake is a strong presence in its ecosystem due to its speed and protective ferocity.


Snakes in Utah

The Coachwhip, sometimes called the Red Racer, is easily recognized by its unusually long and slender body that resembles a whip, as well as its reddish hue. It is a diurnal species that prefers warm temperatures and is well-known for being the quickest snake in all of America. It is not poisonous and feeds on tiny animals, such as snakes and lizards.

This snake is an elusive and fascinating predator in its natural habitat because, when attacked, it uses its amazing speed to escape rather than fight.

Smooth Green Snake

Snakes in Utah

The smooth, unkeeled scales and striking green hue of the Smooth Green Snake set it apart. It has gray skin at birth, but after its initial shedding, it becomes green, blending in perfectly with its lush surroundings to keep predators at bay. It consumes its prey whole, primarily insects, moths, caterpillars, ants, and spiders.

It is a peaceful animal that hardly ever strikes. Predators include other snakes, certain animals, and prey-seeking birds. This species is at risk due to urbanization and pesticide use, which are endangering its native habitat.

Milk Snake

Snakes in Utah

The stunning bands of black, red, and white on the Milk Snake, a member of the kingsnake genus, are visible. There are two subspecies of milk snakes in Utah: the Central Plains Milk Snake and the Utah Milk Snake. Since they are immune to the venom of snakes, they can consume worms, lizards, birds, bird eggs, and other snakes, including poisonous ones.

They like milder climates and are frequently seen in barns and on farms. The myth that they were fed cow’s milk gave rise to the moniker “Milk Snake”.

Rubber Boa

Snakes in Utah

The Rubber Boa has smooth, glossy scales that provide a rubbery sensation to the touch. It comes in gray and brown varieties, with the belly being a lighter shade. It grows best in cool climates; it may survive in temperatures as low as 54°F (12°C). It is naturally shy and likes to hide among plants and rocks.

Frequently maintained as pets, Rubber Boas can sometimes help individuals get over their phobia of snakes because of their calm nature and unusual rubber-like look.

Sonora Mountain Kingsnake

Snakes in Utah

With a black head and yellow snout, the Sonora Mountain Kingsnake is recognized for its striking colors and patterns. Its body is ringed in alternate shades of red, black, and white. Its defense mechanism, when threatened, is to release an offensive stench. Because they are immune to the venom of other snakes, kingsnakes have an unusual diet consisting primarily of venomous ones.

They also eat lizards and small mammals, frequently strangling their victims before devouring them. In its natural habitat, this species is essential to maintaining the balance of poisonous snake populations.

Striped Whipsnake

Snakes in Utah

The name “Striped Whipsnake” comes from the snake’s noticeable stripes, which resemble a long, powerful whip. This cold-blooded snake, which has pale stripes running along its body and a dark base color, can be found in a variety of settings, including rocky hillsides, grasslands, canyons, and forests. It uses stalking or ambush techniques frequently to obtain its prey, which includes rodents, reptiles, insects, and birds.

The Striped Whipsnake, an expert predator vital to the biological balance of its environment, is renowned for its quick reflexes and ability to blend in with its surroundings.

Desert Night Snake

Snakes in Utah

As implied by its name, the Desert Night Snake lives in dry desert regions with lots of rock shelter for concealment. Hunting lizards, scorpions, and small animals in the dark is an excellent skill for this nocturnal species. Its poison is harmless to humans, even though it is quite venomous.

In order to avoid conflict, desert night snakes usually don’t bite and instead curl up into a protective ball when they feel threatened. They are an interesting and essential component of the evening ecology of their ecosystem because of their adaptation to desert life and nocturnal hunting habits.

Night Snake

Snakes in Utah

As its name implies, the Night Snake is a nocturnal predator that hides during the day and hunts primarily at night. It prefers prey such as owls and hawks, among other birds of prey. Its venom is efficient against tiny animals and is somewhat poisonous but nontoxic to humans.

The Night Snake can be identified by its saddle-shaped blotches and dark or brown coloring. Its head is darker than the rest of its body. This species plays an important role in its ecosystem because of its specific food and secretive habits.

Long-nosed Snake

Snakes in Utah

The Long-nosed Snake gets its name because of its lengthy snout, which sets it apart. This non-venomous snake, which is easily identified by its eye-catching red and black stripes dotted with yellow spots, uses defensive strategies, including hissing, when it feels threatened.

It may occasionally also bleed from its cloaca, either during shedding or as a defense mechanism. In its native scrubland and desert environments, the Long-nosed Snake is an intriguing snake due to its unusual protective actions and colorful look, even though it lacks venom.

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