Common Snake Species You’ll Find in New Orleans

2014-05-16 New Orleans 17” by JanetandPhil is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s important that you’re able to recognize a snake when you’re out and about enjoying nature. This helps you assess the situation (depending on whether or not the snake is venomous) and act accordingly. This is why, in this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most common species of snake in the New Orleans area, and you can visit this great source with more information on snakes. We’ll talk about appearance and behavior, and of course, whether they pose a threat to you and your family.

So, without further ado, what are some common snake species in New Orleans, Louisiana?

1. Banded Water Snake

Banded Water Snake” by DFChurch is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Banded Water Snake is an aquatic (duh!) species of snake that’s quite common in the Southeastern region of the United States. It is non-venomous, so you’ve got nothing to fear from this particular type of snake, but it’s still wise to know how to recognize it.

What does it look like? The Banded Water Snake is a fairly large serpent, measuring up to 42 inches in length (or roughly 100 cm), and weighing around half a kg. Most banded water snakes tend to have a dark body color (usually ranging from gray to brown), with darker bands. Quite often, their body is so dark that it’s difficult to make out the bands from the rest of the body. Their heads are flat, and their bodies quite chunky.

What does it do? The banded water snake isn’t venomous, but it will release an extremely pungent, offensive smell if threatened. It usually lives near water (ponds, marshes, etc.) and feeds on what it finds in there (frogs and fish).

2. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake” by Sophro is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are well-known for their traditional shimmy. Like all other rattlesnakes, they are venomous, and so can be quite dangerous, especially when provoked. 

What does it look like? The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is an immense and intimidating serpent, often measuring up to 1.7 m (or almost 6 feet) in length and weighing up to 7 lbs. (or 3 kg). As its name suggests, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake can be easily recognized by the diamond pattern on its back. Its body is usually some earthy shade (variations of gray, brown, etc.), and the diamonds on its back are marked by a thin, yellow lining.

What does it do? The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake will emit a rattle from as far as 10 m away, to ward off predators. If threatened, it will bite, and sometimes, it will do so even without the foreboding rattle. Generally, this rattlesnake prefers terrestrial or aquatic dwellings, and feeding on small mammals. Because of the danger they pose, it is important to remove these snakes from your property if you spot them. Learn more about how to remove snakes at

3. Eastern Racer

Eastern Yellow-Bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor flaviventris)” by 2ndPeter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Also referred to as the tan snake, the Eastern Racer is a species of non-venomous colubrid that’s highly popular in the Louisiana area.

What does it look like? The Eastern Racer usually measures up to 60 inches (or 150 cm) and weighs around half a kilogram. There are multiple types of Eastern Racers, and most are distinguished by their color. For example, the tan racer, which is a subspecies of Eastern Racer, can be recognized by its earthy color. 

What does it do? Their name, really, says it all. Eastern Racers are gifted with incredible speed and usually choose to flee if they feel threatened in some way. They are diurnal and highly curious, and usually feast on small rodents, birds, and the like.

4. Eastern Copperhead

Eastern Copperhead on Black Walnut DSC_1679” by blindhogmike is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Last on our list, the Eastern Copperhead is a type of pit viper, and like all pit vipers, is venomous, and so should be avoided at all costs.

What does it look like? The Eastern Copperhead is a fairly small snake, measuring no more than 37 inches (or roughly 1 m), and usually weighing around 100 and 300 grams (3 to 12 oz.). Traditionally, the Eastern Copperhead can be recognized by its large, stout head and its color pattern. The body of this pit viper is usually a tan-pink, overlaid by dark, yet pale crossbands. 

What does it do? Since the Eastern Copperhead is such a small snake, its diet mainly consists of small rodents, insects, and the like. It’s not known for its aggressive disposition, and most bites occur accidentally when a human steps on the snake.

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