South Carolina Snakes
Here you’ll find a list of indigenous South Carolina snakes, venomous and non-venomous. Here, you can use this as a reference guide for snakes you may have seen in your area. If you need to know more about snakes and other nuisance wildlife, you can call The Snake Chaser anytime! To keep snakes away from your home, ask about the all-natural product Russ developed to keep snakes away from areas of your choice.
Warning: Venomous snakes should not be approached, as their bite(s) can be harmful and/or potentially deadly! If you think you may be looking at a venomous snake, call The Snake Chaser, your professional reptile and nuisance wildlife removal service!
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
This is not the snake you want to meet up close and personal, as it has compact coils, a broad head, and a loud, buzzing rattle. The telltale dark brown or black diamonds are outlined in yellow, and if approached, will often stand their ground rattling loudly, which is the cue to back away!
This snake usually has a coppery red head and hourglass pattern of dark chestnut bands, but colors vary in geographic regions. It’s usually quiet, almost lethargic, and usually more afraid of you than you are of him. When the copperhead perceives a threat, it will usually lie very still, relying on its camouflage, in wait for prey, resulting in bites around the feet or ankles. When it does strike, however, it’s very vigorous and will usually vibrate its tail.
Eastern Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin
Spends most of its time in the water, and is usually olive, brown, or black. Cottonmouths will either stand their ground or crawl slowly away, as opposed to other water snakes which flee quickly or drop with a splash into the water. When aroused, it will throw its head back with its mouth wide open, revealing the white lining that gives it its name.
Most rattlesnakes are heard before they are seen. The Canebrake rattlesnake also uses its camouflage to remain unseen by its prey. Each time the snake sheds, which may occur several times per year, a new segment to the rattle end of the tail is added, indicating growth of the snake.
Eastern Coral Snake
This is a shiny snake with red, yellow, and black rings, where the red and yellow rings touch. These bright colors indicate to surrounding predators that it is poisonous and should heed the warning. The Eastern Coral snake lives in pine woods, pond borders, and hardwood brush in the Southeastern states.
This is a Southeastern rattler with a skinny tail and a tiny rattle, often mistaken for a buzzing insect. It’s usually gray or brown with dark bars or blotches. Some strike aggressively, while others do not even rattle.
Black Racer (Juvenile & Adult)
Most adults are solid colored, whereas juveniles might have specs or blotches. This is a very quick and lively snake which will be quick to flee, but will fight if cornered.
Yellow Rat Snake (Juvenile/Adult)
(Elaphe Obseletto intergrade, Quad ravitta) When cornered, many times, this snake will stand up and fight, raising the front part of the body with the head drawn back in the shape of an “S.” These snakes like to squeeze mice, rats, and small birds to death in their strong coils, and they have angled belly scales which allow them to climb trees easily.
Southern Banded Water Snake
This snake usually has dark cross bands, often outlined in black and has a dark stripe from its eye to its jaw. Bands may be yellow, red, brown, or black, and you’ll find them in fresh water habitats.
Eastern Garter Snake
Most common garter snakes have longitudinal stripes in yellow or orange down both sides of their bodies.
Pines Wood Snake
Red Belly Water Snake
Look for a plain red belly and pale spots on the neck. Otherwise the body color may be brown, gray, or black. This snake is shy in nature.
Red Bellied Snake
This snake is good at impersonating the venomous coral snake with its red, whitish/yellow, and black coloring. Unlike the coral snake, however, the black and red markings touch. Unlike the scarlet king snake the belly of the scarlet snake is solid white. This snake only eats reptile eggs, and it can be found in mulch and pool skimmers, for example.
Scarlet King Snake
If you see an orange-tipped nose, you can tell it's a non-venomous Scarlet King snake. The venomous coral snake has a black-tipped nose. This snake also mimics the colors of the venomous coral snake. They use their bright color patterns to trick predators into thinking they are poisonous. The Scarlet King Snake will often eat other snakes and lizards. The color bands go all the way around the body.
Brown Water Snake
These snakes are usually found close to water or in damp environments. They may also be found in small groups hanging from tree branches.
A long, slender with red or orange coloring with reddish blotches (colored this way particularly in the East). This snake climbs well, but will most likely be found on the ground, even underground in rodent burrows. Corn snakes are often mistaken for the venomous copperhead and killed, however, these snakes are very docile.
These snakes can be intimidating when they flatten their heads, inflate their bodies with air, and hiss loudly. If this doesn’t scare off the assailant, then they will roll on their backs and “play dead” with its mouth open. It usually also has an upturned snout, hence the name.
Eastern Chain King Snake
The Eastern King snake is South Carolina's version of the species Lampropeltis getula. The species is often called the Common King snake, and these snakes are among our largest species. Adults usually range from 36 to 60 inches in length. They are powerful constrictors. The "king snake" name refers to the fact that they prey upon other snakes, including venomous species. They also eat rodents, lizards, birds and eggs, and turtle eggs. King snakes have smooth dorsal scales and a shiny appearance. Their heads are small, and the typical Eastern King snake is black with thin yellow to pale bands on its back and sides, forming a chainlike pattern. "Chain" King snake is another popular name for the Eastern King snake. The belly has scales partially colored in the same color as its dorsal bands. The background color may be more like dark chocolate in some specimens and the bands may be almost white. The width of the bands may be greater. Sometimes the bands may be so wide that the unusual specimen appears to have dark blotches on a pale background. The young look the same as the adults.
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