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7 Snakes Without Teeth (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove


Snakes are a source of fear for some and fascination for others. No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on, knowing these potentially deadly creatures is crucial for survival when living side by side with these wild creatures.

If you are a fan of snakes and hope to bring one into your home as a pet, having knowledge about snakes without teeth is a great place to start. These snakes make good pets for people of all ages thanks to their inability to cause harm with their bites. Read on below to learn more if you’re fascinated with snakes and ready to make one your next best friend.

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Fangs vs Teeth

There are over 3,000 species of snake in the world, with 600 of these considered venomous. Out of these numerous species, over 200 are potentially dangerous. Even with the large number of harmful snakes slithering around in the world today, you’ll also find a completely harmless handful. These snakes have no teeth, or teeth considered too small to cause any harm.

Many species of snakes have fangs. For venomous snakes, this is how they emit their toxins and, in most cases, claim their prey. Even those without fangs and venom have rows of sharp teeth that can leave painful wounds on bite victims. This is often used as a defense mechanism when feeling threatened.

The 7 Most Common Snakes Without Teeth

1. Dasypeltis

Image Credit: Joe McDonald, Shutterstock

The Dasypeltis, gansi, is considered an egg-eating snake. Their diet consists of all forms of eggs considering they have no teeth in which to eat living prey with. Protrusions inside their mouths make it possible to crack eggs when having a meal while their unhinging jaw allows for swallowing whole.

Having no real way to protect themselves, this snake will rub their scales together making a noise similar to hissing. Their calm nature makes them ideal for life in captivity. Due to their inability to injure their owners with a bite many people choose these snakes as pets making them very popular on the pet market.

2. Indian Egg-Eating Snake

The Indian egg-eating snake, westermanni, is quite similar to the Dasypeltis. This glossy black or brown snake features bluish-white flecks and a cream-colored stripe running the length of its body. This snake is a pro at navigating through vegetation and uses a striking s-pose to potentially incite fear in would-be attackers. Biting attackers is of no use to this snake due to their lack of teeth.

These snakes are considered quite rare and aren’t normally kept as pets. Indian egg-eating snakes cannot be found in normal pet stores. Although sold on the exotic pet market, it is recommended, due to their need to flourish in the wild that these snakes be left to experienced snake handlers instead of novice snake owners.

3. Milk Snake

Louisiana Milk-snake
Image Credit: TheTexasNaturalist, Shutterstock

The milk snake, Lampropeltis, is a popular snake due to its bright colors and great temperament. These snakes are beloved by pet owners and are often referred to as a fan-favorite snake that breeds well in captivity.

Being a member of the kingsnake family may make people leery of this snake, but this simply is not the case. Unlike their kin, these snakes do not pose any harm to humans. Milk snakes do not have fangs or noticeable teeth which makes a bite from this snake completely harmless to their human counterparts.

4. Green Snake

Rough Green Snake
Image Credit: Jason Patrick Ross, Shutterstock

There are two common types of green snakes. The rough green snake, Opheodrys aestivus, which thrives in the South Carolina and Georgia areas. They travel through vegetation quite easily and survive on a diet of insects and small worms. They are not considered completely toothless due to them having small, recurved teeth that make it possible for them to consume their dietary needs.

The smooth green snake, Opheodrys vernalis, is common in the Appalachian area. This snake is considered non-threatening and rarely bites. The shy natures of both the smooth and rough green snakes make them ideal for life in captivity and great for owners who are new to owning a pet snake.

5. Garter Snake

speckled flame garter snake
Image Credit: reptiles4all, Shutterstock

The garter snake, Thamnophis, is a relatively common snake found throughout Central and North America. These snakes have great versatility and can thrive in most areas without any issue. Garter snakes are considered quite docile but may coil and strike if threatened. Due to having extremely small teeth, this strike is not considered truly dangerous to humans.

Pet owners are indecisive on their feelings about garter snakes as pets. These snakes do have venom that is considered non-lethal to humans. This leaves certain pet owners weary of keeping them in their care. Garter snakes also emit musk or feces at times when being handled. Due to their challenges, it’s often better for seasoned snake owners to handle these snakes.

6. Water Snake

Broad-Banded Watersnake_Brandy McKnight_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Brandy McKnight, Shutterstock

Water snakes, Nerodia, are misunderstood snakes. Due to their ability to dwell in the water, often these snakes are confused with the water moccasin or cottonmouth. The common water snake, however, is completely harmless, non-venomous, and barely leaves a scratch when they bite.

The water snake is considered one of the best snakes to keep in your home as a pet. They are easy to care for, pose no threat to humans, and are even great for handling by kids. Mostly toothless, these snakes do have small fangs and will bite when aggravated. If you own a water snake, be aware of their preferences for short, handling periods and enjoyment of alone time.

7. Rat Snake

rat snake on hay grass
Image Credit: zoosnow, Pixabay

The rat snake does have teeth but finds its way onto this list due to the lack of damage these teeth inflict. Due to their size, the teeth of the rat snake barely graze the skin. In most instances, if you’re bitten by a rat snake it will appear like several scratches on the skin.

The rat snake, Elaphe, is common in North America. Like other snakes, they can unhinge their jaws to eat their favorite prey, rats. The small, needle-like teeth help them in the process by helping pull their prey in for digestion. As constrictors, rat snakes do not need teeth or fangs to kill their prey. Due to their easy-care, rat snakes are a favorite pet for snake enthusiasts.


Are Snakes Without Teeth the Best Pets?

Although finding a snake in the world without teeth is a bit difficult, they are out there. For people who are anxious to bring a snake into their home, snakes without teeth are a great starting point. This is especially true if you are new to the world of pet ownership. These snakes can often be considered the most docile and easiest to assimilate when it comes to human interaction.

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Using Your Knowledge of Snakes Without Teeth

Now that you are aware of the most common snakes without teeth, surviving in the world with these creatures should become easier. By having a working knowledge of the differences between fangs and teeth, you’ll be more aware of which snakes pose a threat in the wild. No matter which types of snake you come in contact with, proceed with caution. Snakes are wild creatures and should be treated as such when approached in their environment.

Featured Image Credit: Kristian Bell, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.