Snakes of Gainesville, FL

Gainesville snake

Welcome to! I am David, a snake enthusiast living in Gainesville, FL. Many people don't know that Gainesville is in fact full of snakes! You just need to know where to find them - they can often be shy and elusive. Some Florida snake species are more common outside of the city limits, in different parts of Alachua County FL, but many types of snakes are indeed common in the more urban parts of Gainesville. This guide is meant to help educate you about the beautiful snakes of Gainesville, and to help you identify the most common snakes of Gainesville, as well as the venomous snakes of Gainesville that you should learn to recognize and avoid. If you want more detail, click here for my complete list of ALL snake species in Gainesville. Remember the following:

  • Most snakes of Gainesville are harmless and don't want to encounter you
  • Venomous snakes exist but are uncommon in Gainesville, Florida
  • Snakes eat rats and mice and are a valuable part of the Florida ecosystem
  • Never kill a snake - if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone.

Common Snake Species in Gainesville

Gainesville snake Common Garter Snake: The common garter snake is a small, non-venomous species of snake found in many parts of the United States. Adults of this species are typically only one to two feet in size. You can identify these snakes by their skin patterns. These snakes tend to have a dark body with three lightly colored stripes running down their backs. Their chins and bellies are also similarly colored to the stripes. Garter snakes are frequently found in forests, grasslands, and marshes. Yet they’re also frequently found in people’s gardens. While there, they’re known to eat slugs, worms, frogs, and small mammals or birds. These snakes will eat their prey whole.

Gainesville snake Eastern Kingsnake: The eastern kingsnake is much larger than the common garter snake, but it’s harmless as well. These reptiles grow up to be three to four feet long, and they’re more heavily built than the garter snake. This snake has dark-colored skin, with white crisscrossing marks running across its body and sides. You’ll typically find these snakes in vegetated areas, like prairies, forests, and marshes. They’re also frequently found near bodies of water, like rivers and lakes. Like other kingsnakes, the eastern kingsnake is known to hunt and eat other snakes – including both venomous and non-venomous snakes. Yet they also hunt small mammals, birds, and other reptiles. These snakes are known to both constrict their prey and eat them whole, depending on the prey’s size.

Gainesville snake Black Racer: Black racer snakes, also known as North American racers, are slim but long non-venomous snakes. These snakes can be anywhere between two to five feet long. The adults of this species will have a black body with a white chin. Like most snake species, the black racer can inhabit a wide variety of different habitats. These include prairies, forests, sandhills, and plenty of others. According to the Florida Museum, these snakes primarily hunt and eat frogs, lizards, and other small snakes in Florida. Yet they’re known to go after insects, spiders, fish, birds, and small mammals when encountered in other states.

Venomous Snake Species in Gainesville

Gainesville snake Eastern Coral Snake: The eastern coral snake is one of the most colorful snakes you’ll find. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the deadliest. These two-foot-long venomous snakes are sometimes referred to as harlequin snakes. That’s because of their brightly colored body. This tends to have large, alternating red and black bands separated by narrow yellow rings. You can find these snakes near swamps or flatlands, yet they tend to stay underground. These snakes use their powerful venom to hunt and kill other reptiles, including snakes.

Gainesville snake Pygmy Rattlesnake: The pygmy rattlesnake is another venomous species. This snake is much smaller than other rattlesnakes and is only one to two feet long. Despite this, it’s still quite heavily built. This rattlesnake has a grey body with lots of large black blotches across its entire body. It also has a single orange line running across its back. You’ll typically encounter these snakes near bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes. Yet you can also find these snakes near swamps and prairies. These snakes have a varied diet and will go after small insects, centipedes, and other arthropods. Yet they’re also known to hunt small mammals, lizards, and amphibians.

Gainesville snake Copperhead: Copperheads are a medium-sized venomous snake. These two to three-foot-long snakes are best known for their light brown to orange-colored bodies. They also tend to have hour-glass shaped markings on their backs. These are some of the most widely distributed snakes. As such you’ll find them in a variety of environments like forests, near bodies of water, and even in swamps. Copperheads typically hunt small mammals, yet they occasionally go after amphibians and birds.

If you're unsure, you can email me a photo of the snake at and I will email you back with the snake's species. If you found a snake skin, read my Found a Skin? page, and you can email me a photo of the skin, and I'll identify the snake for you. If you need professional Gainesville snake removal help, click my Get Help page, or see the below website sponsor I found, who provides that service.

Remember, the term is not poisonous snakes of Gainesville, it's venomous snakes of Gainesville. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Gainesville. The few venomous snakes of Alachua County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Gainesville in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Gainesville, High Springs, Newberry, Micanopy, Archer, Hawthorne, Waldo, La Crosse and the surrounding areas.

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