Florida Snakes Ro-X
Rough Earth Snake
This is a small, glossy, brownish snake with a lighter belly. Its average length is seven to ten inches. The head is small with a distinctly pointed snout.
Newly hatched snakes are darker than adults but have a light ring around their neck. It is not venomous and feeds on earthworms. It's found everywhere in Florida.
Although this is very small snake, they are found in great numbers. Much focus and attention is on large and venomous snakes, and people tend to forget that small snakes play a big role in ecosystems.
According to Werler and Dixon, up to 1,200 rough earth snakes can be found within one hectare in some places in Texas. They also state that it is the most abundant snake in Texas.
Pretty amazing, when you think of which snakes are the best known snakes in Texas.
The rough greensnake is another snake that is only found in North Florida—in the Panhandle. It is a very slim snake and easy recognizable due to its distinct coloration. They are, however, good at hiding between vines and branches.
Further information: Info at Marshall University
Salt Marsh Snake
There are three subspecies of the salt marsh snake in Florida. The best known is probably the Gulf salt marsh snake. Unlike other water snakes (not Nerodia) this snake is striped and not banded. Due to gene transfer between the Gulf salt marsh snake and other salt marsh snakes, some consider it a separate species.
Further information: Info at King Snake
They are not very commonly encountered in the wild. They typically reach a size between 12 and 23 inches (30-65 cm).
They kill their prey by constriction, and they are not venomous.
Short Tailed Snake
The short tailed snake has a slender body and is about 15-20 inches long. It's gray with black spots down its body, and its tail is only about ten percent of its total body length. It can be found in woodlands and sandy and soiled habitats. It feeds on the Florida crowned snake and small lizards. It's endemic to Florida and considered threatened. Eggs are laid underground.
Smooth Earth Snake
It's a small snake with a brownish or reddish color with a belly that is white or yellow. Adults reach a length of 7-13 inches. Its head is very small with a somewhat sharp snout. In Florida, it can be found north of the Suwannee River and in the Panhandle. It's often found beneath leaf litter and under rocks in forest areas or in marshes. Its preferred prey is earthworms, but it likes insects and other small animals as well. It bears live juveniles. Eggs are at some point hatched inside the snake.
Further information: Smooth Earth Snakes at oplin.org
Southeastern Crowned Snake
The Southeastern crowned snake is also referred to as a small-bodied snake. Their Latin name is Tantilla, and they live in Florida but also states north of Florida, such as Alabama and South Carolina, depending on subspecies (there are 63). The average size of adults is six to nine inches.
Southeastern crowned snakes have dark heads and are nocturnal, and their primary food source is invertebrates, such as insects.
Females are both heavier and longer than male Southeastern crowned snakes. They are 5-10 % larger on average.
Species like this are not as well understood as larger snakes, as it is difficult to study their ecology.
Southern Hognose Snake
It has a more upturned nose than the Eastern hognose snake.
Striped Crayfish Snake
The striped crayfish snake is a brown snake with three visibly darker stripes. It reaches a length of 14-20 inches with a record of 26 inches. Its lower side is lighter than the rest of its body, and its head appears very small. In Florida, it is found everywhere except for the Keys. Its favorite prey is crayfish, which are captured when they approach its hiding place around submerged roots. It’s not venomous, and it’s not a constrictor. It instead holds it prey and swallows it alive. Young striped crayfish snakes are born live.
Swamp snakes are non-venomous and completely harmless snakes. They are rather small—10-15 inches—and are black with red bellies. In Florida, there are two different types of swamp snakes: a Northern swamp snake and a Southern swamp snake.
They are quite similar, the difference being the number of scales.
They are aquatic and quite reclusive in their nature. However, after a day of rain, you might see them. Sometimes they can be found in high concentrations in wetlands. Because they are so secretive, herpetologists really do not know much about them.
They forage in the water and in between the vegetation. Their preferred diet is salamanders and leeches. They can bite, but they are not aggressive per se.
Watch this video of a Southern Florida swamp snake. You can see its red belly.
1 Werler, JE. and JR. Dixon. Texas Snakes: Identification, Distribution, and Natural History. University of Texas Press. Austin, Texas (2000).