Common and Venomous Snakes of Illinois

Venomous Snakes of Illinois: The following are venomous snake commonly found in Illinois:

  • Southern Copperhead and Northern Copperhead (Highland Moccasin)
  • Western Coppermouth (Water Moccasin)
  • Timber Rattlesnake (Canebrake Rattlesnake)
  • Eastern Massasauga

Common Snakes of Illinois : Illinois ranges from high and rugged, mountain peaks to massive water-logged areas, 2325 square miles covered by water such as Lake Michigan. This creates the perfect home for many semi-aquatic snakes, and there are actually a number of common snakes of Illinois including the following:

Call the below number for snake removal help in your area:

North Chicago: 773-295-1230
South Chicago: 815-513-0590

Garter Snakes: Both the common garter snake and the striped garter snake can be found in this state, one that can come in many designs and colors, but the most easily identifiable feature is a stripe running down the length of a snake, on the dorsal/spine/top of the snake. Found more often than not in the suburbs and towns of Illinois, they eat frogs, toads, and other water-swelling creatures, meaning they can also be found in moist vegetation. They will lash out if threatened, releasing a musky, foul smell, but there won’t be any lasting damage and there is no venom to worry about.
Ringneck Snakes: There are three main types of ringneck snake found in this state:
  • Prairie Ringneck
  • Northern Ringneck
  • Mississippi Ringneck
These snakes are non-venomous, very small in build, and very secretive meaning other’s a good chance you won’t ever see this species. Varying in colors and patterns, the ring around its neck is what gives the game away, usually a bright yellow, orange or red in color against a darker color all over.
Hognose Snake: As well as three species of ringneck snake, you’ll also find three species of hognose snake in Illinois also, a name given because of the upturned nose, perfect for digging up small toads and frogs in water-side areas. You’ll find these species:
  • Dusty Hognose
  • Plains Hognose
  • Eastern Hognose
King Snake: Another snake you’ll find more than one subspecies of, the king snake is a very common species found across the entire USA but within Illinois, you will find these:
  • Prairie Kingsnake
  • Speckled Kingsnake
  • Black Kingsnake
Water Snake: You’ll find that there are six common snakes in Illinois that are classed as water snakes and among the most popular, you will find the following:
  • Yellow Belly Water
  • Copperbelly Water
  • Broad-Banded Water
  • Diamondback Water
  • Midland Water
  • Northern Water
Just as the name suggests, these snakes are very strong swimmers and often prey on creatures that live close to water - frogs, salamanders, toads, earthworms, slugs and snails with the occasional side helping of insects.
Ribbon Snake: You’ll find subspecies of ribbon snake in Illinois including:
  • Western Ribbon
  • Plains Ribbon
  • Eastern Ribbon
  • Northern Ribbon
The ribbon snake is another harmless and non-venomous snake with colors and patterns that will vary dependent on species and location. Generally eating foods like insects, slugs, minnows and worms, you may find these in your garden and are commonly found as household pets because of their calm and docile nature.
Rat Snake: There are two rat snakes in the list of common snakes of Illinois - the Great Plains Ratsnake and the Gray Ratsnake. Slightly larger constricting snakes, some species can grow to over 10 feet in length although most are in the region of two to four feet, docile in nature again making them great pets for snake lovers.

The Corn Snake is another example of a rat snake, and is another common species found within Illinois although more commonly as pets.
Milk Snake: You may spot two species of milk snake in the state - Eastern Milk Snake or Red Milk Snake. Brightly colored and often confused with the coral snake (a venomous snake), the milk snake with its bright red, yellow and black markings is actually relatively harmless and quite small too, only growing to a maximum of 60 inches in length. Different species will have different habitats and also markings, but they’re patterns make them very well camouflaged in leaf litter and they general dwell in forested areas. Nocturnal by nature, they'll eat other small snakes, insects, slugs, worms, snails, earthworms and crickets, but are quite opportunist hunters and will eat anything they can get their jaws on.
Racer Snake: Both the Blue Racer and Southern Black Racer are common snakes of Illinois, the latter of which are commonly spotted throughout the day as they hunt for prey such as lizards, frogs, mice, rats and toads. Not a great snake for a pet, the racer snake can be quite bad-tempered and will strike out with minimal provocation. Definitely one best avoided.
Green Snake: You’ll find both the Rough Green Snake and Smooth Green Snake in Illinois, the difference in the two being one has smooth scales whereas the other has rough. The name gives it away. Usually a solid green color, perfect for camouflaging in long grasses and other vegetation, they have a pale colored underbelly and generally only grow to around 30-40 inches in length, making them quite a small species in comparison.
Kirtland's Snake: Another 30-40 inch snake, the Kirtland’s snake also goes by a number of other names including little red snake, Ohio Valley water snake and even spread head snake. Whatever you want to call it, it’s one of the common snakes of Illinois and also parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and also Michigan. Within Illinois and Ohio, the snake is classed as a threatened species meaning numbers are low, and in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan, the species is listed as endangered.
There are many common snakes of Illinois and among the others you are likely to see, you will find the following:
  • Northern Scarlet
  • Western Mud
  • Eastern Coachwhip
  • Mississippi Green Water
  • Western Fox Snake
  • Gopher Snake (Bull Snake)
  • Northern Pine Snake
  • Graham's Crayfish Snake
  • Queen Snake
  • Midland Brown Snake
  • Flat-Headed Snake
  • Common Garter
  • Northern Lined Snake
  • Western Earth Snake
  • For more information, go to my Snake Removal - How to Get Rid of Snakes home page.

    Call the below number for snake removal help in your area:

    North Chicago: 773-295-1230
    South Chicago: 815-513-0590