Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

January 1994


Of the many kinds of snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) found in the United States, only the following are harmful: rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, coral snakes, and sea snakes. Some species of nonpoisonous snakes occur throughout several states, but the majority have only limited ranges. Snakes are not very mobile, and even though some are fairly adaptable, most have specific habitat requirements. All snakes are predators, and the different species eat many different kinds of food. Snakes are specialized animals, having elongated bodies and no legs. A nonpoisonous snake bite has no venom and can do no more harm than frighten the victim. In most states, snakes are considered nongame wildlife and are protected by state law unless they are about to cause personal or property damage.