Snakes of Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis snake

Welcome to! I am David, a snake enthusiast living in Saint Louis, MO. Many people don't know that Saint Louis is in fact full of snakes! You just need to know where to find them - they can often be shy and elusive. Some Missouri snake species are more common outside of the city limits, in different parts of Saint Louis County MO, but many types of snakes are indeed common in the more urban parts of Saint Louis. This guide is meant to help educate you about the beautiful snakes of Saint Louis, and to help you identify the most common snakes of Saint Louis, as well as the venomous snakes of Saint Louis that you should learn to recognize and avoid. If you want more detail, click here for my complete list of ALL snake species in Saint Louis. Remember the following:

  • Most snakes of Saint Louis are harmless and don't want to encounter you
  • Venomous snakes exist but are uncommon in Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Snakes eat rats and mice and are a valuable part of the Missouri ecosystem
  • Never kill a snake - if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone.

Common Snake Species in Saint Louis

Saint Louis snake Plains Garter Snake:
(Thamnophis radix)
Appearance: The plains garter snake is a medium-build reptile whose body length ranges between 18-28 inches. It's dark green with a yellow to an orange band on the back. It has two rows of pastel dots on the lower body sides and a black bar towards the upper lip's end.
Habitat: Typically, this snake inhabits ponds, marshes, wet prairies, and meadows. Their diet consists of minnows, earthworms, and amphibians like frogs and toads.
Behavior: Plains garter snakes hibernate in winter. But, on warm days of the season, they seek better temperatures outside. Their mating season is usually in late April or early May.

Saint Louis snake Lined Snake:
(Tropidoclonion lineatum)

Appearance: The lined snake's body color ranges from brown to gray-brown. It has two rows of half-moon labels on the lower body, while the back has a light band. It's a small snake of 8-15 inches long.
Habitat: This species is found in empty town lots, old trash sites, rocky areas, and native glades to prairies. Their primary diet consists of earthworms.
Behavior: The lined snake secretes a foul odor from the glands beneath the tail to repel any sensed enemy. It's a nocturnal reptile that hides under rocks and debris during the day and gets at work when darkness falls.

Saint Louis snake Western Worm Snake:
(Carphophis vermis)

Appearance: The western worm snake has a short, stout body of 7-11 inches. It has a purple-brown back and a salmon-pink belly. Besides that, it possesses a spiked tail that enables it to push through soil.
Habitat: This snake type is found in hilly woods, but it's rare to sight it. To ensure its safety, the western worm snake stays under rocks, logs, or boards. Additionally, it burrows under wet soils. This reptile feeds on insects, earthworms, and insect larva.
Behavior: The western worm snake is a secretive organism that loves staying off open sites. As such, you can hardly spot it during the day as it spends most of its time hiding under logs or burrowing beneath damp soils—it's fossorial.

Venomous Snake Species in Saint Louis

Saint Louis snake Western Pygmy Rattlesnake:
(Sistrurus miliarius streckeri)

Appearance: The western pygmy rattlesnake, also known as the ground rattler, is a medium-build snake with a length ranging from 15-20 inches. Body color is gray-brown with dark-brown scales on the back and body sides with a gray belly.
Habitat: This solitary creature prefers remote sites with little or no disturbance like under rocks and cedars. It feeds on small snakes, mice, and frogs.
Behavior: This type of snake spends most of the time hiding beneath rocks and logs to stay safe from enemies. They mate in spring and the juveniles are born between August and September. When it comes to safety, the western pygmy rattlesnake defends itself by curling while producing a buzz-hissing sound. During such times, its head remains high to counter any attack from an enemy.

Saint Louis snake Timber Rattlesnake:
(Crotalus horridus)

Appearance: The timber rattlesnake is a large, heavily-built snake that can grow to 36 to 60 inches. Body color is tan to yellow-tan with dark-brown flaws at the back. Also, it has a rattled tail.
Habitat: It's found on hills with rocks and wood where it can bask when temperatures are low. Its diet comprises of mammals like small rabbits, birds, and rodents.
Behavior: This ectothermic reptile's behavior depends on the surrounding conditions. It's active during the day in fall and spring. However, during hot summers, it's alert on cool nights. Timbers are venomous but never bite unless extremely provoked.

If you're unsure, you can email me a photo of the snake at and I will email you back with the snake's species. If you found a snake skin, read my Found a Skin? page, and you can email me a photo of the skin, and I'll identify the snake for you. If you need professional Saint Louis snake removal help, click my Get Help page, or see the below website sponsor I found, who provides that service.

Remember, the term is not poisonous snakes of Saint Louis, it's venomous snakes of Saint Louis. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Saint Louis. The few venomous snakes of Saint Louis County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Saint Louis in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Chesterfield, Florissant, University City, Creve Coeur, Ballwin, Clayton, Fenton, Kirkwood, Maryland Heights, Bridgeton, Ferguson, Hazelwood, Webster Groves, Wildwood, Brentwood, Ladue, Eureka, Des Peres, Manchester, Maplewood, Saint Ann, Affton, Valley Park, Town and Country, Spanish Lake, Sunset Hills, Crestwood, Ellisville, Frontenac, Overland, Richmond Heights, Olivette, Oakland, Oakville, Rock Hill, Shrewsbury, Jennings, Berkeley, Mehlville, Saint John, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Huntleigh, Black Jack, Wellston, Vinita Park, Pine Lawn, Pagedale , Green Park, Warson Woods, Glendale, Bel-Ridge, and the surrounding areas.

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