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17 Snakes Found in Utah

Kristin Hitchcock

If you live in Utah, you’re likely surrounded by many different species of snake. Snakes are pretty common in this state, as it is home to several different species.

Often, those in Utah are told to beware of rattlesnakes, which are one of the most common venomous snakes in the region. However, several non-lethal snakes hang out in Utah too. Some of these are easily mistaken as venomous, though they are entirely harmless.

This article will look at many of the snakes in Utah – helping you learn critical features in order to identify each one.

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17 Snakes Found in Utah

Venomous Snakes Found in Utah

1. Great Basin Rattlesnake

Species: Crotalus oreganus lutosus
Longevity: Unknown
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: No
Adult size: 15–65 inches
Diet Small mammals, birds, lizards

There are several species of rattlesnake in Utah – the great basin rattlesnake is one of them. This species is found throughout western Utah, where it can be found in various habitats. They are usually ground-dwelling, but they can occasionally climb into trees and shrubs.

They are venomous, though they use them primarily for hunting purposes. They are light tank or yellow, with darker blotches running down their back.


2. Great Prairie Rattlesnake

prairie rattlesnake
Image Credit: Piqsels
Species: Crotalus viridis viridis
Longevity: 16–20 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: No
Adult size: 35 – 45 years
Diet Small mammals, birds, lizards

The great prairie rattlesnake is another common species in Utah. They are primarily found in southeastern Utah, where they were recently discovered.

They are primarily a ground-dwelling species. However, they will climb trees and shrubs occasionally.

They are venomous, which they use to subdue prey items. Like most venomous snakes, they have large hollow fangs in their upper jaw.


3. Hopi Rattlesnake

Species: Crotalus viridis viridis
Longevity: 6.2 years on average
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: No
Adult size: 24 inches
Diet Small mammals, birds, lizards

The Hopi rattlesnake is a smaller species of rattlesnake that is found in southern Utah. They can climb trees like all rattlesnakes, but they are mostly found on the ground.

They only grow to be about 24 inches long. They are much smaller than other rattlesnakes found in the area. They are pink or reddish, with barely-noticeable darker blotches along their back.


4. Midget Faded Rattlesnake

Species: Crotalus oreganus concolor
Longevity: 15–20 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: No
Adult size: 24 inches
Diet Small mammals, birds, lizards

This is another species of rattlesnake – this time mainly found in eastern Utah. They are usually found on the ground, but they can climb onto trees and shrubs as well. They are known to congregate in large numbers, especially during the colder months.

They are venomous and look similar to other rattlesnakes. The darker splotches on their back are usually very recognizable, as is their rattle.

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Water Snakes Found in Utah

5. Black-Necked Garter Snake

Western Black-necked garter snake_Luis Mac_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Luis Mac, Shutterstock
Species: Thamnophis Cyrtopsis
Longevity: 2 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 16 – 28 inches
Diet Amphibians

There are several types of garter snakes found in Utah, with the black-necked garter snake as one of them. However, this is one of the rarer subspecies.

It is distinguishable because it has two large black blotches on the back of its head.

They are typically found near water, where their primary food source lives. They are most active from April to October.


6. Ring-Necked Snake

Ring-necked snake
Image Credit: Heptinstall, Shutterstock
Species: Diadophis punctatus
Longevity: 8–10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 10–15 inches
Diet Amphibians, lizards, snakes

This species is native to Utah, mostly in the central areas of the state. They are not particularly abundant, but it isn’t odd to come across them.

They are grey or darker in color, with an extremely bright orange/yellow belly. Many do have a similarly colored neckband – hence their name. However, not all of them do. It is missing from some individuals.

They can be found in a variety of habitats, but they do prefer to be around water. They are secretive and nocturnal, so many people don’t just stumble upon them.

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Other Snakes Found in Utah

7. Coachwhip

Species: Masticophis flagellum
Longevity: 16+ years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 50–72 inches
Diet Lizards, snakes, birds, eggs

The coachwhip is limited to the southwestern corner of the state. They are well-known for tolerating scorching weather, which allows them to remain active throughout much of the day. They prefer dry, open terrain.

Often, you can find them in grassland, desert, and agricultural areas.

They are most active in the spring and summer. In the winter, they take refuge in old rodent burrows.


8. Common Garter Snake

common garter snake
Image Credit: PublicDomainImages, Pixabay
Species: Thamnophis sirtalis
Longevity: 4–5 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 18–26 inches
Diet Earthworms, fish, insects

Garter snakes are extremely common. They occur throughout many of the arid regions in the United States. They are found throughout most of Utah.

This species is entirely harmless. Most of their diet includes earthworms and similar insects. They do eat small birds occasionally.

You can find them in most moist habitats, where they are active at night and during the day. They remain underground during the colder parts of the year and remain inactive.


9. Common Kingsnake

Species: Lampropeltis getula
Longevity: 20–30 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 2–6 feet
Diet Reptiles and small mammals

The kingsnake is only common to the southern part of the state. It lives in a variety of habitats, including agricultural areas, woodland, and deserts. Like most snakes, they are only active during the hotter parts of the year.

They prey on reptiles, birds, and small mammals. They may occasionally eat eggs. They also occasionally eat rattlesnakes – one of the few animals to do so.


10. Corn Snake

ghost corn snake
Image Credit: skifbook, Shutterstock
Species: Elaphe guttata
Longevity: 6–8 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 2–6 feet
Diet Rodents, bats, birds, insects, other snakes

Corn snakes are found mostly in eastern Utah. They typically live in streams, rocky areas, and forests. They are mostly active at night, especially in the hotter summer months.

They commonly eat bats, birds, insects, lizards, and other snakes.

They vary somewhat in color, ranging from light grey to darker grey. They usually have dark blotches on their back, with two markings on the back of their neck in a V-shape.


11. Eastern Racer

Species: Coluber constrictor
Longevity: Up to 10 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 24–48 inches
Diet Large insects, reptiles, birds, and small mammals

The eastern racer is a larger snake that is common throughout much of North America. They are inactive during the cold winter months when they hibernate. They are one of the few snakes to hibernate communally.

They are typically found in open fields and meadows. They may also be located in woodlands, though they prefer more open spaces. They can climb trees, but they are mostly ground-dwelling.


12. Gopher Snake

Common gopher snake
Image Credit: Jason Mintzer, Shutterstock
Species: Pituophis catenifer
Longevity: 12–15 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 48–66 inches
Diet Birds, small mammals, lizards, insects

The gopher snake can be found in a variety of different locations, ranging from dry fields to mountains. They are great climbers and burrowers, allowing them to adapt to a number of locations.

These snakes have a similar adaptation to rattlesnakes. They will vibrate their tails when alarmed. However, they are not venomous. They often kill their prey by constriction instead.

They are large, with some individuals exceeding 100 inches.


13. Ground Snake

Variable Groundsnake_Rusty Dodson_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Rusty Dodson, Shutterstock
Species: Sonora semiannulata
Longevity: 15–20 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 8 inches
Diet Insects

The ground snake is located throughout much of the southwestern United States, including Utah. They are only found in the southwestern corner, though.

They are a shy species that tends to keep to themselves. They hid in rocky hillsides and sandy areas.

Their main source of food is insects and spiders, though they will eat any invertebrate.

They’re easy to identify due to their bright red and black stripes. They look quite unique compared to other snakes in the area.


14. Long-Nosed Snake

Long-nosed Snake
Image Credit: Hairulazuar, Shutterstock
Species: Rhinocheilus lecontei
Longevity: 12–20 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3 feet
Diet Lizards, lizard eggs

This medium-sized snake is mostly found in the western part of Utah. They are nocturnal and only active in the warmer months.

Their main prey includes lizards and their eggs. But they will also eat other snakes and rodents as they become available. They’re quite opportunistic when it comes to their eating patterns.

They have black and red stripes along their back, which makes them look somewhat like the western coral snake. However, they are completely harmless. (The western coral snake also does not occur in Utah; sightings are usually of long-nosed snakes.)


15. Milk Snake

Louisiana Milk-snake
Image Credit: TheTexasNaturalist, Shutterstock
Species: Lampropeltis triangulum
Longevity: Up to 15 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 24 – 26 inches
Diet Small mammals, small birds, reptiles, eggs

In Utah, this species can be found in the middle and eastern portions. They eat all the things you’d expect a snake to, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and a variety of eggs.

They have red and white stripes, with small, darker stripes in between. This looks somewhat like the coral snake, which is venomous. However, this species is completely harmless. Their coloration likely evolved as a mimicry to scare off predators.

This species can be found in many different habitats and is largely active at night. They also hibernate during the colder months.


16. Night Snake

Texas Nightsnake
Image Credit: Rusty Dodson, Shutterstock
Species: Hypsiglena torquata
Longevity: 12 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: No
Adult size: 12–26 inches
Diet Lizards and lizard eggs

Night snakes are rather common in the desert regions of Utah. They inhabit arid desert flats, as well as plains and some woodlands. They prefer rocky and sandy soils.

Their main diet consists of lizards and their eggs. However, they may also eat frogs, insects, and other snakes. They do have venom that they use to subdue their prey.

However, they are not venomous to people. They deliver very small amounts of venom and rarely bite people – even when handled. Still, they are commonly not kept as pets for this reason.


17. Rubber Boa

rubber boa snake
Image Credit: Matt Jeppson, Shutterstock
Species: Charina bottae
Longevity: 40–50 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 21–26 years
Diet Shrews, mice, lizards, and small birds

In Utah, this species is found in the northern portion of the state. They are mostly in the Wasatch Mountains.

As the name suggests, they mostly kill their prey through constriction. They eat small mammals like shrews and mice. They may also eat other smaller snakes and small birds.

They are nocturnal and only active from March to November in most cases.

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Conclusion

There are many species of snakes in Utah. Most of them are harmless. In fact, the various rattlesnake species are the only seriously venomous snakes. There are a few that produce venom, but not in any large amounts.

Identifying rattlesnakes is quite easy. They look different from other snakes in the region.

It is important to point out that the western coral snake is not native to Utah. There are other snakes that look like this venomous one. However, all the similar snakes in Utah are not venomous.


Featured Image Credit: Matt Jeppson, Shutterstock

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!