Fl-O species in Florida—Including the Garter Snake and King Snake

Florida Crowned Snake

There are two subspecies of the Florida crowned snake in Florida, both of which are very small. The average size of an adult Florida crowned snake is seven to ten inches (18-24 cm). Adults have a black head, but the rest of their bodies are completely tan.

It is most often encountered in Central Florida or Southeastern Florida (depending on sub-species) in sand hills under rocks or litter. The snake is not venomous and is completely harmless to humans. Crowned snakes prefer insects, snails, beetles, and other small animals.

A tiny Florida Crowned Snake - very characteristic

Florida Green Water Snake

These snakes are thick bodied, and their color varies from brownish to green and orange; however, green is the normal color for these snakes. Normal adult individuals reach a length of 30-55 inches. The record is a bit more. It cannot be found in the Keys but can be found anywhere else in Florida. It is a water snake and is found in waters of marshes, lakes, etc. It's commonly mistaken with the venomous cottonmouth, but the Florida green snake is not venomous. Its preferred prey are frogs, salamanders, fish, and everything else it can get in the water.

Garter Snakes

Garter snakes are very common in the U.S. It's the reptile in North America that is most widely distributed, and it can be found in several spots in Florida.

Habitat

The Florida garter snake lives in all sorts of habitats, from marshes to woods, and in wet areas. Also, a lot of people have garter snakes as pets.

Appearance

The garter snake has longitudinal red, yellow, and white stripes on its back. In some species, the stripes are not easy to see, while in others they are.

Size varies from anywhere between 25 inches and 60 inches. The larger specimens are not very common; the average size is about 30-40 inches.

Diet

Garter snakes eat almost anything—other snakes, rodents and all sorts of invertebrates, some other reptiles, frogs and toads—you name it. That's one of the reasons why they are popular as pets.

Hibernation and Mating

As soon as garter snakes emerge from hibernation, they begin to reproduce. It's only in the northern part of Florida that there's a chance they may hibernate. When they hibernate, they do so in large groups. Males will try to mate with several females during a season, and the sexes attract each other with a hormone called pheromone. They give live birth to a lot of hatchlings; sometimes more than 50.

A young garter snake hiding

Garter Snakes as Pets

Garter snakes are popular pets. One of the reasons for this is that, unlike other snakes, garters mate in captivity without any problems. They do, however, need a varied diet to survive for many years. Only giving them mice is not a good option as they would never eat mice in the wild.

Glossy Crayfish Snake

The glossy crayfish snake is found in the northern part of Florida if found at all. It prefers to stay away from humans and is very seldom seen as it is nocturnal and few in numbers. If found, it is seen close to streams or anywhere else close to freshwater sources.

The glossy crayfish snake feeds on crayfish it captures in the water—of course. But occasionally it also takes other species on its menu. It's a water snake with shiny brownish scales making it quite beautiful to look at. It reaches a length of 15-30 inches (35-70 cm).

Actually a beautiful snake

King Snakes in Florida

King snakes can be found in a variety of colors and appearances. There are eight different subspecies of the king snake but only two of them are seen in Florida. The king snakes of Florida are the Eastern and the Florida king snake.

The Latin name of king snakes is Lampropeltis spp. and the names for the sub species found in Florida are getula getula and getula floridana.

Florida King Snake

The adult Florida king snake Lampropeltis getula floridana reaches a length of 35 to 50 inches. The longest specimens can reach a length of almost 70 inches.

They have a lot of yellowish cross bands and black ones as well. The Florida king snake is not venomous and seldom bites. It is most active during the night and is not very often encountered by humans.

It feeds on a lot of different types of animals—rodents and sometimes even other snakes. They do, however, like lizards and frogs as well, and they even feed on their own eggs and kind from time to time. They are immune to rattlesnake venom and have no problems in eating newborn or small rattlesnakes.

Video and Picture

More videos and pictures can be found in the video section—see the Navigation panel. Here is a sample:

Eastern King Snake

Eastern king snakes are about the same size as the Florida king snakes. The longest found specimens of the Eastern king snake are, however, a bit longer than their fellow king snake species in Florida.

Unlike the Florida king snake, the Eastern king snake is most active during the daytime. It is not encountered very often, and its numbers have been declining since the seventies.

It can be found in many habitats but mainly in the most northern parts of the state of Florida.

Life Cycle

Some weeks after their hibernation and in the period from February to May, females lay anywhere from a few to 30 eggs. Hatchlings are five to eight inches long and must take care of themselves from the time they hatch in late summer.

Diet

King snakes are constrictors, feeding on all types of other animals. What makes them really special is their ability to kill and eat other snakes. Because of a natural immunity to venom from venomous snakes, such as cottonmouths and rattlesnakes, they are able to kill these snakes and eat them.

Midland Water Snake

In Florida, the midland water snake is only found in the Panhandle. It’s uncommon and not seen very often. If seen, it’s most likely flowing in some river. It's a nocturnal hunter feeding on tadpoles, fish, and other water animals. The average size of adult midland water snakes ranges from 25 to 50 inches. Adults are brownish with dark bands near their necks. The midland snake gives live birth to up to 30 juveniles. It is a non-venomous and completely harmless snake.

Mole King Snake

There are two different types of mole king snakes in Florida. One of them has more than 52 blotches; the other one has less than 50. They are not very common and can only be found in small populations in central Florida and in the Panhandle. Another reason why they are not seen very often is that they live underground.

Usually they reach a length of up to 30 inches, or 75 cm. It is a long and slender snake with relatively big eyes, which is an adaption to living underground.

Mud Snake

Mud snakes are quite large snakes, reaching a length of 40-55 inches at adulthood. They are black with red blotches along their sides.

They are not encountered very often and are considered rare. They can, however, be found in Northern Florida. They are harmless, non–venomous, and don't even bite when handled. It has a habit of pressing its tail against people who try to handle it to get free. This has led to a myth about its tail being poisonous, but this is not so. Mud snakes nest their eggs, which is quite rare among snakes. Hatchlings—ten to twenty in a litter—are about six to seven inches long and bright in their color.

A photo of a mud snake


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