Interesting Facts About Arkansas Snakes

Arkansas snakes are a natural part of the state’s landscape despite all the threats they pose. They are found in almost every part of the state. Some of the most common snakes are the Pygmy rattlesnake, the Cottonmouth, the Midland Watersnake, and the Racer snake. All of these are native to Arkansas.

Arkansas Snakes

Pygmy rattlesnake

Several snake species live in Arkansas, including a pygmy rattlesnake. The pygmy rattlesnake is a venomous pit viper most commonly found in the southeastern United States.

The pygmy rattlesnake can be as small as four inches long. It is one of the smallest rattlesnakes in the United States. It is found in Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Alabama.

The pygmy rattlesnake has a high-pitched rattle that can be heard only a few feet away. The rattle is a luring device that the snake uses to lure prey. The rattle is often broken off after a couple of years.

Pygmy Rattlesnake
Pygmy Rattlesnake

The pygmy rattlesnake’s venom is hemorrhagic. The venom is injected into the prey through fangs. The rattlesnake is also sensitive to infrared radiation, and the pits detect the direction of warm-blooded prey.

Racer snake

Unlike many snakes, Arkansas racer snakes are non-venomous. They are not dangerous, but they can be aggressive. It is best to handle them carefully. They can travel up to four miles an hour and bite if surprised.

The Arkansas racer snake is one of the longest snakes in the state. It has a rounded, slightly slender head with medium-sized eyes. A single-colored ring around its body also characterizes it. The underside may be yellow or brown. It can be bluish or metallic.

Black Racer snake 'in the blue'
Black Racer snake ‘in the blue.’

The Arkansas racer snake is a member of the Crotalinae family. It eats slugs, insects, frogs, and small birds. It is active in the daytime in grassy areas and forests. It also eats terrestrial snails and centipedes. It is a relatively common snake.

Cottonmouth

During the spring and summer, cottonmouth snakes in Arkansas live in various habitats. They are primarily found near water, where they eat fish, frogs, and small mammals. They prefer to bask in the sun on rocks but will also hunt at night.

Adult cottonmouths are dark brown or olive, with a black line from the snout to the neck. The tail tip is bright yellow. The dorsum has 10 to 15 dark transverse crossbands. The upper lip is white. The belly is mottled with black or brown blotches.

Baby Cottonmouth
Baby Cottonmouth

The juvenile cottonmouth is lighter in color, with two heat-sensing pits. Its head is triangular. The belly is cream-colored, with dark blotches. The snake also has round pupils.

The timber rattlesnake is another pitviper that can be found in Arkansas. It is a giant, heavily-bodied snake that can reach 189 cm in length. It has a reddish-brown vertical stripe on the back and a yellowish-grey color. It also has arrow-shaped markings.

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Midland Watersnake

Several venomous snakes inhabit Arkansas, including the Copperhead, Red-bellied Snake, and western cottonmouth. These snakes have specialized jaws for consuming small insects and invertebrates. These snakes are primarily nocturnal, making them ideal for night hunting. They also consume frogs, small snakes, amphibians, and other vertebrates.

Midland Watersnake
Midland Watersnake

The copperhead is the most common venomous snake in Arkansas. They can be found in various habitats, including brushy hillsides and riparian areas. They are also known to hibernate in large groups.

These snakes are native to the Coastal Plain of southern states and prefer wooded hillsides. They are also known to reside in sphagnum bogs. The American alligator is another venomous species that are native to Arkansas. This species has heat-sensing pits and a bright yellowish-green tail.

Queen snake

Among the most common snakes found in Arkansas is the queen snake. These snakes are part of the colubrid family and are nonvenomous. They live in rivers, streams, and other waterways. The queen snake is usually less than two feet long. Besides feeding on crayfish, they also eat small fish and tadpoles. They are also known to spray putrid-smelling musk whenever they are threatened.

neonate queen snake choking on a crayfish
neonate queen snake choking on a crayfish

These snakes can be identified by their dark coloration, usually brown. They are usually solitary creatures, but they will mate with other queen snakes. Their bodies are highly permeable to water, and they can lose their water content instantly. The water snakes will quickly dive beneath the surface to escape when disturbed.

These snakes are generally nocturnal, but they will also be found basking in the sun and hanging in trees. They will also spray their feces. They will often wait for a crayfish to molt before eating it. This makes the crayfish easier to digest.

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