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Snakes in Ohio

There are 27 native snakes in Ohio only three of which are venomous. They are the Northern Copperhead, Timber Rattlesnake, and Eastern Massasauga.

Locals have spotted the dangerous Water Moccasin, or Cottonmouth, as well. There have been claims of yearly sightings in Ohio’s waters.

Ohio is quite rigid about its snake laws. It is illegal to own constrictors over 12 feet long without a permit. One may not own a Yellow Anaconda or a Green Anaconda by law as well.

Ohio enacted its exotic animal law in 2012, banning keepers from collecting, selling, and breeding restricted species. Venomous snakes are one on this list of restricted species.

In order to own a snake that is on the Restricted Snakes list of Ohio, you must get a Restricted Snake Possession Permit from the Director of Agriculture.

Some snakes that are restricted and controlled as defined by Ohio law include Boomslang Snakes, Twig Snakes, Green Anacondas, Yellow Anacondas, Reticulated Pythons, Burmese Pythons, Indian Pythons, North and South African Pythons, Amethystine Pythons, any snake of the Atractaspididae, Elapidae, or Viperidae family, and any species that is at least 12 feet long.

Applying for a permit is a big deal because you must be able to provide all the details that will entail your ability to care for the animal such as a plan of action in the case of an escape from your home, a written statement from a vet agreeing to provide care, proof of financial responsibility, and many more documents.

It is quite a hassle, but once you get your permit, you can own a prohibited snake. 

Owners of Restricted snakes will are required by the Ohio Revised Code to always have access to antivenom; one per species of Restricted Snake owned. If an owner fails to obtain antivenom to keep on-site, they must get a hand-written letter from their local hospital stating that antivenom is available at their facilities.

The owner of these snakes is solely liable for any costs and treatments that might come with a snake bite if it happens to attack someone else. 

Now that you understand the legality of snakes and how to obtain a Restricted Snake in Ohio, let’s talk about what kind of snakes roam the state.

Common Snakes in Ohio

Here are some common snakes that roam the state:

1. Eastern Hognose Snake

Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Heterodon platirhinos
  • Other Names: Eastern hog-nosed snake, Spreading Adder
  • Adult Size: 20 to 33 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Average Price Range: $100 to $500 per snake

The Hognose snake is known to be one of the best pet snakes for enthusiasts since they are not fussy and are comfortable with human interaction. They also stay relatively small and are only slightly venomous while still being safe to keep around humans.

These worm-like snakes have a large, round head with an upward-facing snout, which is what we all love about them. They are dark gray or olive-green, but some are also yellow, tan, or light brown with dark brown spotted or black patterns on their head and sometimes their bodies.

They prefer to inhabit sandy woodlands, farmland, coastal areas, and fields where they feed on frogs, salamanders, invertebrates, birds, and small mammals. They can use their hog-like nose to get into their prey’s burrows more easily.

2. Red-Bellied Snake

Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)
Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Storeria occipitomaculata
  • Other Names: Redbelly snake, Red-belly Snake, Copperbelly Snake
  • Adult Size: 8 to 16 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 years in captivity; Wild lifespan unknown but predicted to be longer than in captivity

These small snakes can be found in swarms basking in the sun on the warm days of September to October. You can also find them in woodlands, fields, under logs, in forests, bike trails, back roads, and sphagnum bogs.

In these areas, they feed on earthworms, beetle larvae, and slugs.

People can sometimes find them out in their pesticide-free garden or just out in the wild and might want to keep them as a pet. However, they really struggle to eat when in captivity and will sometimes just outright refuse when they are removed from the wild.

They do not do well in captivity and prefer to be free to roam the lands as they please. Although they aren’t hard to obtain in the wild, they might not be the best pet to keep if you are planning to have it for long since they do not do well away from their natural habitat.

It’s not hard to identify these snakes since they really do live up to their name with their flashy red or orange undersides. Their bodies might be a dark steel grey, black with a blue tint, or copper brown. Some may also have two dark stripes along their sides or a thick, light-colored band down the middle of their backs.

While they will usually first curl their tails or flee in defense before they try to bite, their little nibble probably won’t affect you anyway.

While they are small and beautiful, this does not mean they will make a good pet since they do not usually survive long in captivity.

3. Northern Brown Snake

Northern Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi)
Northern Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Storeria dekayi dekayi
  • Other Names: DeKay’s Snake, Brown Snake
  • Adult Size: 9 to 15 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 years
  • Average Price Range: Around $20 to $30 per snake

Because the Northern Brown Snake is popular prey amongst many predators, they are, understandably, always on guard. These easily stressed-out snakes will release a musk when they feel threatened.

Because of their demeanor, it will take gentle and only short periods of handling. You won’t have to worry about them biting since they are shy, docile snakes.

These keel-scaled snakes can range from a light tan to a darker brown in coloration. They may have small patterns along their bodies that are either be darker or lighter compared to the rest of them. Their chins and underside may be off-white or pale yellow and their tongues are black.

Brown snakes are the best choice for enthusiasts that want to create a naturalistic aquarium because they love live plants. Being in a natural, alive terrarium will cause them to exhibit more natural behaviors, which can also make them feel right at home.

In the wild, they come from grasslands, forests, wetlands and it is not uncommon to encounter one in residential areas.

4. Northern Ringneck Snake

Northern Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii)
Northern Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Diadophis punctatus edwardsii
  • Other Names: Northern Ring-necked Snake
  • Adult Size: 10 to 15 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years in the wild; 6 years in captivity
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $50 per snake

While you can keep these small snakes as pets, they do not usually do too well in captivity due to their timid nature and difficulties when breeding. All subspecies of the Ringneck snakes are threatened in their native habitats and should not be captured.

Ringneck Snakes are not the easiest to take care of since they have specific needs in order to stay alive. They also don’t make the best pets since they want to remain hidden at all times. 

A lot of Ringnecks will be captured and taken from their habitats into the hands of overzealous first-time keepers. Usually, they will refuse to eat after a week or two in captivity.

However, they respond to handling quite well since they are not aggressive. Even though they are slightly venomous, their poison is comparable to that of a bee’s sting.

Ringnecks’ well-known defense mechanism is the curling up of their tail, which shows off their bright red underside and happens when they are feeling threatened. While they are non-aggressive, they may try to nip at you, but even that will be hard to do since they have rear-facing fangs.

They pose very little threat to humans who want to handle them but do not enjoy being seen and like to remain hidden.

Northern Ringneck Snakes have a flat, black head with smooth scales all throughout their thin body, which is usually dark gray or a dull blue-gray in color. Their undersides may be a bright or pale yellow sometimes with small speckles or spots.

They get their name from the yellow or orange band that circles their neck. There are many subspecies that might vary in color.

They are sometimes mistaken to be Prairie Ringnecks since they are similar in size as well as color. You can differentiate them by looking at their undersides since a Northern Ringsnake will have a solid pale yellow belly without any markings.

These tiny snakes don’t like to be seen or out in the open so they like to inhabit areas like moist forests or dry deciduous forests. In these habitats, you can find them feasting on earthworms, smaller snakes, salamanders, small amphibians, and beetles.

5. Queensnake

Queensnake (Regina septemvittata) coiled up in grass
Queensnake (Regina septemvittata) coiled up in grass
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Regina septemvittata
  • Other Names: Queen Snake
  • Adult Size: up to 24 inches
  • Lifespan: over 19 years in captivity; wild lifespan unknown
  • Average Price Range: around $30 per snake

While these snakes are friendly, docile, and take well to handling, they are listed as an endangered species and protected under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Queensnake is similar in appearance to the Garter Snake, which causes much confusion when identifying them. They are slender with dark olive or brown bodies with cream or pale yellow stripes along each side of their bodies.

They can be spotted in mountainous regions and sometimes along river drainages. They like to make homes near streams where they hide under rocks and find opportunities to bask in the sun when they can.

They mainly feed on soft, just-molted crayfish without hard exoskeletons.

6. Rough Green Snake

Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus) on white rocks
Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus) on white rocks
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Opheodrys aestivus
  • Other Names: Green Snake, Grass Snake
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3 feet
  • Lifespan: 8 years in captivity; wild lifespan unknown
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $30 per snake

Rough Green Snakes remain healthy in population and can make great diurnal pets for someone who is more of an observer. They don’t really like being handled and prefer sitting in their enclosure.

They are docile beings and will rarely ever try to bite, if at all.

These green snakes look very similar to their cousins, the Smooth Green Snake, with totally lime green bodies and cream-colored undersides. However, if you want to know the differences between these two, it lies in their scales.

Smooth Green Snakes do, indeed, look smoother due to their flat, shiny scales whereas Rough Green Snakes have more raised scales with keels on the scales covering their dorsal and sides. They will also have larger eyes than their “smooth” counterparts.

These green snakes love to live among the vines, shrubbery, and leaves of trees. They like thick vegetation, lush streamside forests, moist woods, and the gardens in our very backyards.

They usually live off insects like crickets and grasshoppers, but will also consume spiders, small frogs, and snails. They hunt using their large eyes and excellent vision.

7. Smooth Green Snake

Smooth green snake with tongue out (Opheodrys vernalis)
Smooth green snake with tongue out (Opheodrys vernalis)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Opheodrys vernalis
  • Other Names: Green Snake
  • Adult Size: 14 to 20 inches
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Average Price Range: $8 to $10 per snake

Smooth Green snakes can make great pets for any owner that is a little squeamish about feeding them dead rodents. These guys will mostly eat insects like spiders, moths, ants, snails, slugs, worms, and spineless caterpillars.

However, it is said that they do not make great pets since they are way too timid for human interaction. However, they are harmless and some enjoy being handled.

They can be found in open woods, stream edges, marshes, and meadows. They thrive in moist, grassy areas.

As you can already tell by their name, these snakes will be a bright green, which can range in shade. They stay relatively small and may have a pale yellow underside with beady eyes.

These are not the easiest snakes to keep captive since they are very anxious and easily stressed out.

8. Kirtland’s Snake

Kirtlands snake (Clonophis kirtlandii)
Kirtlands snake (Clonophis kirtlandii) by Peter Paplanus
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Clonophis kirtlandii
  • Adult Size: 14 to 18 inches
  • Lifespan: Wild lifespan unknown; Less than a year in captivity

The Kirtland’s Snake is a small, shy snake that is well sought out in snake enthusiasts communities since they are an endangered species, but they really should not be kept as pets since they do not do well in captivity.

They are dark brown to red in color with four rows of alternating round blotches which are also dark in color. These blotches are usually on their backs and sides as well.

Some individuals may also have a faint red or tan stripe right down the middle of their back. Their undersides are bright red or orange with black dots lining the sides of their stomach.

They are typically found in open wetlands like meadows, swamps, marshes, prairies, or may also occur in floodplains and forested wetland edges.

They feed on slugs, earthworms, and the occasional terrestrial leech if they run into one.

9. Eastern Garter Snake

Eastern Garter Snake curled up on a rock (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Eastern Garter Snake curled up on a rock (Thamnophis sirtalis)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis sirtalis
  • Other Names: Garter Snake
  • Adult Size: 18 to 26 inches long
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $300 per snake (depending on size)

Eastern Garter Snakes are relatively small and remain active during the day. They like to soak often, especially around their shedding period so they should always have a soaking bowl readily available in their tank.

Garter snakes are docile and will not grow to be too large, making them a very beginner-friendly reptile. If threatened, they will release a musk in order to ward off predators. 

These snakes can range from dark olive-green to brown or black with a distinctive yellow or off-white stripe running throughout the length of their body.

Subspecies of Garter Snakes all look very similar so the only way to identify an Eastern is by checking their stripes. Looking at their scale patterns and counting the number of scales on their upper lip can also help you identify the type of Garter Snake as well.

In the wild, they can be found in many places like marshes, woodlands, meadows, or hillsides.

These snakes feed on leeches, slugs, worms, small fish, amphibians, and even other snakes. They are also immune to toxic frogs that secrete toxins from their skin in order to drive away prey.

10. Plains Garter Snake

Plains Garter snake on dirt curled up (Thamnophis radix)
Plains Garter snake on dirt curled up (Thamnophis radix)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis radix
  • Adult Size: 16 to 28 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 years; sometimes up to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $300 per snake (depending on type and size)

These non-venomous snakes are friendly by nature, making them a great pet for beginners. They are also relatively small, meaning they aren’t fussy and are easy to care for.

They are black with a distinctive, long yellow or orange stripe running along the whole length of their body. They eat anything they can get their jaws around including amphibians, worms, fish, eggs, and rodents.

They make great garden snakes since they will help you by eating and bugs or other pests.

They enjoy environments that are moist and grassy such as the areas found around streams and lakes.

11. Butler’s Gartersnake

Butlers Garter Snake (Thamnophis butleri)
Butlers Garter Snake (Thamnophis butleri)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis butleri
  • Other Names: Butler’s Garter Snake
  • Adult Size: 15 to 20 inches
  • Lifespan: 14 years in captivity; wild lifespan unknown

This species of Garter Snake has a stout, dark brown, dark olive, or almost black body with three distinctive lateral orange, yellow, or cream stripes along their body.

Subspecies of Garter Snakes all look very similar so the only way to identify a Butler’s Garter is by checking which scale row their stripes overlay. Looking at their scale patterns and counting the number of scales on their upper lip can also help you identify the Garter Snake.

Butler’s Gartersnakes will choose to inhabit semi-open wetlands like prairies, wet meadows, ponds, marshy lake shorelines, canopy habitats, moist grassy areas, and streams.

They mainly feed on earthworms, but will also eat leeches, salamanders, and smaller amphibians.

12. Eastern Ribbon Snakes

Eastern Ribbon Snake on walkway (Thamnophis sauritus)
Eastern Ribbon Snake on walkway (Thamnophis sauritus)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis sauritus
  • Other Names: Ribbon Snake
  • Adult Size: 16 to 35 inches
  • Lifespan: 10+ years in captivity; wild lifespan unknown
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $50 per snake

Ribbonsnakes are the most common species of Garter Snakes there are. These shy, non-poisonous snakes make popular pets due to their many morph options and the fact that they are not dangerous to keep.

Eastern Ribbonsnakes are the best tempered out of all the subspecies of Ribbonsnakes and can make good pets for novice snake keepers when bought from a reputable pet store where they are captive-bred, of course.

Ribbonsnakes are usually tan or dark brown with prominent light-colored stripes throughout their length which is usually a bright or pale yellow.

Eastern Ribbonsnakes are semi-aquatic creatures and can be found mostly near a water source like the shorelines of rivers or lakes. They will sometimes inhabit water edges near forests or wetlands.

They are carnivorous and feed on small fish, insects, and tadpoles.

13. Short-headed Gartersnake

Shorthead garter snake (Thamnophis brachystoma)
Shorthead garter snake (Thamnophis brachystoma)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis brachystoma
  • Other Names: Shorthead Garter Snake
  • Adult Size: 10 to 22 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years in the wild; up to 10 years in captivity

Shorthead Garter Snakes are typically olive green with three beige or yellow stripes running along the length of their body.

They can be found in meadows, wooded areas, and old fields. They prefer living in fields so you will most likely be able to spot them in or near one.

They feed almost exclusively on earthworms but will also consume salamanders, leeches, fish, and frogs.

14. Eastern Ratsnake

Eastern Rat Snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) curled up on dead tree
Eastern Rat Snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) curled up on dead tree
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Pantherophis alleghaniensis
  • Other Names: Allegheny Ratsnake
  • Adult Size: 42 to 72 inches
  • Lifespan: 20 years +
  • Average Price Range: $50 t0 $600 per snake

Rat Snakes are amongst one of the most popular snakes besides the corn snake. They are hardy and docile, which makes them great for beginners.

Also known as the Eastern Ratsnake, they have shiny, black scales and a white underside with an almost checker-like pattern. Their chin and throat may also be a cream or off-white color, depending on the snake.

They can be found in hardwood forests, thickets, forested wetlands, fields near forests, farmlands, and sometimes in backyards with birdhouses or rats. They like to eat rodents, birds, and their eggs.

15. Eastern Foxsnake

Eastern Fox Snake (Pantherophis gloydi) curled around owners hand
Eastern Fox Snake (Pantherophis gloydi) curled around owners hand
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Pantherophis gloydi
  • Other Names: Eastern Fox Snake, Pine Snakes
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5.5 feet
  • Lifespan: 17 years in captivity; wild lifespan unknown
  • Average Price Range: $60 to $200 per snake

Eastern Foxsnakes are not usually kept as pets since their population is so sparse and they are now endangered. Although many people will still have them as pets due to their docile nature.

These snakes are known to give off a foul, dank, musky odor through their tails.

They can be identified by their shiny, rust-like colored head and gold or light brown or tan body. Along their body, they have dark-colored, usually brown, blotches.

Their undersides are pale yellow and black. They have a short, flat nose and deep-set, round, yellow, or golden eyes, which gives them a fox-like look, hence their name.

They like herbal gardens, vegetated dunes, beaches, open woodlands or fields, and any open wetland environment. While they are considered terrestrial snakes, that does not mean that they aren’t great swimmers or climbers.

They typically feed on baby birds, other animal eggs, and amphibians, constricting and suffocating them with the tight coil of their bodies.

16. Black Racer

Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor)
Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Coluber constrictor constrictor
  • Other Names: Northern Black Racer
  • Adult Size: 33 to 65 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: about $40 per snake

Although Northern Black Racers are non-venomous, they are sometimes a little bit aggressive when defensive. As long as you don’t startle or corner it, it will not deliberately try to attack you.

Black racers do not usually feel threatened by humans but you should still not give it a reason to use self-defense. A bite can still be painful and susceptible to infection regardless of whether or not there is venom.

When threatened, they will raise their head.

As far as these snakes go as pets, they are not particularly docile and will only rarely become accustomed to being handled. Black racers also like to travel a lot over long distances, making them unsuitable for a tank or terrarium habitat.

Northern Black Racers have large, long, slender, solid black, round bodies with a white chin and a faded blue underside. They have smooth, matte-looking scales and a head that is almost the same width as their body.

Some black racers may be blue-gray, brown, dark grey, or rust-colored with blotches on their back as well.

You can find these snakes in habitats that are brushy such as grasslands, old fields, rock ledges, ridges, and agricultural fields.

They prey on toads, frogs, small birds, rodents, and smaller snakes. They may also sometimes feed on insects and invertebrates like moth larvae or butterflies.

17. Blue Racer

Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxii)
Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxii)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Coluber constrictor foxii
  • Adult Size: 36 to 60 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 years

While Blue Racers are popular amongst enthusiasts due to their beautiful color, they are not made for captivity. They need a lot of space to explore and are very aggressive; they can strike you from a very far distance.

Although they are not dangerous to humans, all snake bites should be treated in order to avoid infection.

They have a beautiful blue-gray coloration that might even look electric blue in some lights. They also have cream-colored undersides.

These snakes like to make homes out of open areas with lots of debris for cover such as prairies, savannas, and woodlands. They also like abandoned farmlands where lots of rodents roam, making it a great hunting ground for them.

They are quite opportunistic feeders, preying on insects, birds, amphibians, smaller mammals, lizards, other snakes, rodents, and animal eggs.

18. Eastern Milk Snake

Eastern Milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)
Eastern Milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum
  • Other Names: Milk Snake
  • Adult Size: About 4 feet
  • Lifespan: 22 years
  • Average Price Range: $50 to $300 per snake

Eastern Milk Snakes are a species of Kingsnake that are non-venomous, friendly, docile, and beautiful to look at.

Eastern Milksnakes are tan or brown with black-brown bands and blotches that loop around the length of their body. Their skin can sometimes be a pale yellow with almost a red striped pattern, similar to the Western Milk Snake and the venomous Coral snake, depending on the Milk Snake.

They can be found in meadows, pastures, under any artificial cover, by the edges of watercourses, by mountain cliffs, and woodlands. These carnivorous snakes feed on lizards, reptile eggs, birds and their eggs, mice, and sometimes insects.

19. Mexican Black Kingsnake

Baby mexican black kingsnake
Baby mexican black kingsnake in palm of hand
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Lampropeltis nigra
  • Other Names: Black Kingsnake
  • Adult Size: about 58 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $200 to $300 per snake

Mexican Black Kingsnakes are hardy snakes that do quite well in captivity, are active beings, and are popular due to their beautiful look, which makes them great pets.

While they are usually docile, they may act defensively if they feel threatened. Before they try to strike you, they may try to imitate a rattlesnake by shaking its tail or release a strong musk.

They are completely black and smooth-looking with a nice, shiny finish to their smooth scales. Their heads are quite small, almost looking identical in size to the rest of their body.

You can find them in swamps, farmlands, suburban areas, pine forests, hardwood forests, and bottomlands.

They mostly eat rodents, lizards, snakes, other animal eggs, and may also eat Rattlesnakes if they get the chance. In captivity, they can feed exclusively on rodents and be totally fine.

20. Northern Water Snake

Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)
Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Nerodia sipedon sipedon
  • Other Names: Watersnake, Northern Watersnake
  • Adult Size: 24 to 55 inches
  • Lifespan: 9 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $80 per snake

Northern Water Snakes are popular pets since they do not require much effort and are relatively safe, even around children.

They are usually dark in color, ranging from brown, tan, to grey. They also have square blotches on their backs and sides that may alternate or become bands throughout their length.

Water Snakes typically live in or near aquatic habitats which is why they are called water snakes. They like to bask on rocks by still or slow-moving water such as seasonal pools, lakes, and ponds.

They like to eat fish and amphibians, swallowing them whole and alive. They eat all kinds of fish species such as smallmouth bass, minnows, bullhead catfish, hogsuckers, sunfish, and brook trout.

21. Plain-bellied Water Snake

Plain-bellied water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster) curled up in brown grass
Plain-bellied water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster) curled up in brown grass
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Nerodia erythrogaster
  • Other Names: Plain-bellied Water Snake, Plainbelly Water Snake
  • Adult Size: 30 to 48 inches
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years in captivity; wild lifespan unknown
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $80 per snake

The Plain-Bellied water snake is large, hefty, and solid in color. They will usually be green-gray, solid gray, brown, olive green, or just black in color. They can be distinguished from other water snakes by checking for their unmarked, or plain, underside which might be pale yellow or red.

They like to live in forest edges, ponds, lakes, streams, and bays where they eat fish, crayfish, tadpoles, amphibians, and salamanders.

22. Copper-bellied Watersnake

Copper-Bellied Water Snake
Copper-Bellied Water Snake (Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta
  • Other Names: Copperbelly Watersnake
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 feet
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years in captivity; wild lifespan unknown

Being a subspecies of Plain-bellied Water Snake, they look extremely similar with a black, dark grey, solid body and a bright blood orange or copper-colored underside.

They are non-venomous and can be found in floodplains nearby upland forests, or shallow wetlands without fish. They move around a lot, hunting for amphibians and salamander eggs in shallow water.

23. Eastern Worm Snake

Eastern Worm snake (Carphophis amoenus amoenus)
Eastern Worm snake (Carphophis amoenus amoenus)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Carphophis amoenus amoenus
  • Other Names: Wormsnake
  • Adult Size: 7 to 11 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 years
  • Average Price Range:  $14 to $25 per snake

In general, worm snakes are not ideal pets because of their timidness. They like to remain hidden in their substrate, which can make it hard to keep track of their health.

These shy reptiles dislike being handled and will wiggle around in your hand. You may also feel them press against you with a bit of a strong force.

Eastern Worm Snakes are shiny, scaley, and brown with a pointy tail. The color of their body can range from a light to darker brown and may have pink or white undersides.

You can find these snakes in habitats that are damp or near woodlands such as hilly woodlands or farmlands nearby. They prefer grassy or wooded hillsides near streams of water.

During dry periods, they will burrow down underground where the soil is moist in order to get the dampness they need to survive.

These worm snakes eat exclusively earthworms, swallowing them completely alive. This makes it easy for them to fall prey to other animals that eat earthworms.

Although it is rare, they might also sometimes eat insect larvae or slugs.

Venomous Snake Species in Ohio

Here is a list of the most venomous snakes that roam the state:

24. Smooth Earth Snake

Smooth Earth Snake (Virginia valeriae) in Blackwater River State Forest Florida
Smooth Earth Snake (Virginia valeriae) in Blackwater River State Forest Florida
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Virginia valeriae
  • Other Names: Earth Snake, Smooth Earthsnake
  • Adult Size: 7 to 10 inches
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years in the wild; Unknown, but estimated less in captivity

The Smooth Earth Snake can be compared to its cousin, the Rough Earth Snake. Their differences lie in their dorsal scales or back scales.

They don’t have the best defense mechanisms against their predators, which makes them pretty friendly and safe towards humans.

However, these snakes are not really made for captivity and will usually die faster when taken out of their natural habitat.

In the wild, they enjoy forested areas with lots of foliage. You can find them in moist deciduous forests under leaf litter, logs, rocks, loose soil, and other debris.

25. Copperhead

Copperhead snake in the woods near a tree (Agkistrodon contortrix)
Copperhead snake in the woods near a tree (Agkistrodon contortrix)
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Viperidae
  • Scientific Name: Agkistrodon contortrix
  • Other Names: Eastern Copperhead, Copperhead Snake
  • Adult Size: average 2 to 3 feet; up to 4 feet
  • Lifespan: 18 years
  • Average Price Range: $100 to $150 per viper

Copperheads aren’t aggressive towards humans unless provoked and can actually make great pets for those who know what they’re doing and can handle their needs.

These large snakes are tan in color with copper or rusty-looking, chestnut, blotches all throughout their bodies which look like spilled coffee spots. These pit vipers have a distinctively triangular-shaped head.

They can be found in a variety of environments anywhere from semiaquatic to terrestrial. This includes wetlands, hillside forests, rocky areas, and abandoned construction sites in the suburbs where they can find rotting wood or piles of sawdust.

These snakes are carnivorous, eating mostly small rodents like mice. They also consume other smaller snakes, lizards, insects, amphibians, and birds.

They do their hunting by ambushing their prey, injecting them with venom, then swallowing it whole.

26. Timber Rattlesnake

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) resting on rock
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) resting on rock
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Viperidae
  • Scientific Name: Crotalus horridus
  • Other Names: Canebrake Rattlesnake, Banded Rattlesnake
  • Adult Size: 6 feet
  • Lifespan: Anywhere from 10 to 30 years in the wild; 30+ years in captivity

Rattlesnake bites are no joke and should be treated as a medical emergency. They are venomous, which can mean a bite from them will be very dangerous, and in some cases, even fatal if left untreated.

These vipers are usually gray or yellow-brown in color with dark brown blotches all or bands throughout their body and a brown, yellow, or copper stripe running down the length of their back.

They can generally be found in bluffs, croplands, rugged deciduous forest terrains, rocky ledges, and dense woodlands with closed canopies. They like to move around during different seasons and females will move to rocky terrains when they are pregnant for higher temperatures.

Timber Rattlesnakes feed mainly on smaller mammals but will also eat the occasional bird if they feel like it.

27. Massasauga Rattlesnake

Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus)
Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus)
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Viperidae
  • Scientific Name: Sistrurus catenatus
  • Other Names: Eastern Massasauga, Massasauga Rattlesnake
  • Adult Size: about 2 feet
  • Lifespan: 14 years

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources deemed the Massasauga Rattlesnake an endangered species as of 1996.

The Eastern Massasauga is protected by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. This means that they cannot be taken from the wild and are not to be messed with.

A bite from one of these vipers will not be one you will forget and could also kill you as they are one of the most venomous snakes in the United States. Although, they are quite shy creatures which is why bites don’t happen too often and are considered a rare occurrence.

Massasaugas are tan or gray in color with bright brown blotches along their back and smaller blotchy patterns along their sides.

In the wilderness, they choose to live in open, rocky areas since these environments will allow them to bask freely with multiple options. They may also be found in deserts, forests, prairies, and marshes.

They like areas where they can take cover from bird predators and where prey is abundant. They will eat insects, lizards, smaller snakes, and amphibians but they mainly feed on smaller mammals.

When hunting, these vipers are the stalking type, sitting and waiting for their prey. They have special pits near each of their eyes that are heat-sensitive and will alert them when prey is near.

They will then inject them with a little bit of their toxic venom before swallowing them whole.


That wraps it up for this list of snakes in Ohio. We hope that we helped out some of you Ohioans learn more about the snakes you might be interested in as well as the laws in your state.

We hope this article was helpful and interesting to you.

Leave a comment below about your experiences with keeping snakes if you live in Ohio as well. Definitely let us know if you are keeping one of the state’s restricted snakes; we’d love to hear about it!

Snakes in other states

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