Not seeing a Scroll to Top Button? Go to our FAQ page for more info.
Home > Common Types of Snakes in Arizona

Common Types of Snakes in Arizona

Arizona is the US state boasting of the highest number of poisonous reptiles, including over a dozen different species of rattlesnakes, with the Mojave rattlesnake being the most venomous snake found here. Following is a list of all the native and introduced snakes in Arizona according to their type and appearance to make it easier to identify them.

Venomous/Non-Venomous

Poisonous Snakes in Arizona

Deadly/Lethal
Sonoran/Arizona coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus) Sidewinder/Sidewinder rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes) Grand Canyon pink rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus abyssus)
Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus) Hopi rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis nuntius)
Tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) Prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis) Speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)
Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)
Non-Lethal
Night Snake (Hypsiglena torquata) Northern blacktail rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) Desert nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea)
Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi willardi) Mexican vine snake (Oxybelis aeneus) Southwestern blackhead snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
Checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus) Lyre snakes (Trimorphodon genus) Western shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis occipitalis)

Non-Poisonous Snakes in Arizona

Western hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus) [its saliva may cause swelling and other allergy-like symptoms] Western Patch-nosed Snake (Salvidora hexalepis) Milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus) Eastern Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora grahamiae) Blackneck garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis)
Saddled Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus browni) Blind snakes (Scolecophidia genus) Sonoran coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum cingulum)
Lined coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum lineatulus) Red coachwhip/Red racer (Masticophis flagellum piceus) Arizona mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana)
Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula) Desert kingsnake (Lampropeltis splendida) California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae)
Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) Sonoran gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis) Glossy snake (Arizona elegans)
Western ground snake (Sonora semiannulata) and occasionally other groundsnake species Long-nosed snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) Rosy boa (Charina trivirgata)
Eastern racer (Coluber constrictor)

By Habitat

Desert Snakes in Arizona

Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes) Arizona coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus)
Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae) Desert nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea)
Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)

Mountain Snakes in Arizona

Speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli) Tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) Northern blacktail rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)

By Color

Black Snakes

Black Base Color
Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus) Desert kingsnake (Lampropeltis splendida) Blackneck garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis)
Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
Black-headed Snakes
Milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) Southwestern blackhead snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
Snakes with a black and white banded tail
Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
Black-banded snakes
Western shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis occipitalis) Long-nosed snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) Milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
Western ground snake (Sonora semiannulata)
Snakes with black vertical stripes
Western Patch-nosed Snake (Salvidora hexalepis) Eastern Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora grahamiae)
With black checkered pattern
Checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus)

Gray Snakes

Gray base color
Speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii) [individuals living in rocky areas develop similar base color as the terrains] Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) Western ground snake (Sonora semiannulata)
Solid gray snakes
Eastern racer (Coluber constrictor) [may also appear black, blue, or green]

Red Snakes

Solid red snakes
Red coachwhip/Red racer (Masticophis flagellum piceus)
Red, black and white snakes

(The red parts may sometimes be more of an orange)

Sonoran/Arizona coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus) Arizona mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana) Long-nosed snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)
Milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) Western shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis occipitalis) [some subspecies]
Snakes with reddish patches
Sonoran coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum cingulum)
Red-bellied Snakes
Southwestern blackhead snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
Snakes with a red back
Western ground snake (Sonora semiannulata)

Pink Snakes

Pinkish base color
Grand Canyon pink rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus abyssus) Sonoran coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum cingulum) Speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)

Brown Snakes

Solid brown snakes
Southwestern blackhead snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
Brown base color
Mexican vine snake (Oxybelis aeneus)
Brown-banded snakes
Speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii) Night Snake (Hypsiglena torquata) Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi willardi)
Snakes with dark brown to black markings
Northern blacktail rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) Tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) Prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis)
Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) Hopi rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis nuntius) Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
Saddled Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus browni) Western hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus) Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)
Sonoran gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis) Glossy snake (Arizona elegans) Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola)
California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae) Grand Canyon pink rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus abyssus) Night Snake (Hypsiglena torquata)

Tan Snakes

Tan base color
Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes) Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) Tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)
Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) Prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis) Western hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus)
Western Patch-nosed Snake (Salvidora hexalepis) Eastern Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora grahamiae) Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)
Lined coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum lineatulus) Sonoran gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis) Glossy snake (Arizona elegans)

Snakes with white in their coloration

White-banded snakes
Sonoran/Arizona coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus) Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus) Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi willardi) California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae)
Snakes with white vertical stripes
Blackneck garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis)

Yellow Snakes

Yellow ground color
Northern blacktail rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) Long-nosed snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)
Western shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis occipitalis)
Snakes with a yellow belly
Mexican vine snake (Oxybelis aeneus)
A single yellow vertical line
Western Patch-nosed Snake (Salvidora hexalepis) Eastern Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora grahamiae) Blackneck garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis)
Checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus)
Snakes with yellow stripes
Desert kingsnake (Lampropeltis splendida)

Orange Snakes

Faded orange or pinkish base color
Hopi rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis nuntius) Saddled Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus browni)
Snakes with orange horizontal stripes
Rosy boa (Charina trivirgata)

Green Snakes

Olive base color
Mojave green (Crotalus scutulatus) [individuals living in forest areas are sometimes green] Checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus)

Arizona Snakes That Look Like Rattlesnakes

(Hissing loudly and thrashing their tails to make a rattling noise)

Western hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus) Coachwhip snakes (Masticophis flagellum) Gopher snakes (Pituophis catenifer)

Most of these snakes have an off-white, cream, or yellowish belly.

Though multiple subspecies of gopher snakes are found here, there are no bullsnakes in Arizona. Still, people often mistake other snakes, like the Great Basin gopher snake, for a bullsnake.

Being primarily a desert habitat, there are not many water snakes found in Arizona. Blackneck garter snake is a species that prefers to live near some water source.

Interesting Facts

  • As Arizona is one of the warmer states in the US, snakes here do not hibernate for as long as they do in colder places, and may come out at any time of the year.
  • They are most active during summers, so the snake season in Arizona lasts from April through October as many species, including rattlesnakes, come out during late summer.
  • The western diamondback rattlesnake is the largest species found in Arizona and the second largest venomous snake in the US.
  • Some adult Arizona black rattlesnakes show an interesting trait of changing their coloration fairly quickly, like chameleons and certain other snakes. Experts are still studying the species to find out how and why they do it.

A hunting license is required to kill any snake, as they are protected by law in this state. There are also some rare rattlesnake species that are illegal to kill under any circumstance. So, it is recommended to refrain from trying to kill any snakes as most snake attacks occur when inexperienced people try to kill a snake which accidentally entered their home or backyard.