Love them or hate them, snakes are found in nearly every corner of the world. With over 3,000 species roaming our planet, however, how much do you really know about the different types of snakes?
We’ll introduce you to 25 of the most incredible snakes on Earth. We’ll discuss what makes a snake a snake, give you some amazing snake fun facts, and provide you with insight into the complex world of snake taxonomy. Let’s get to it!
Here are our answers to some of your most common questions about the different types of snakes:
How Many Types of Snakes Are There?
There are more than 3,000 snake species on Earth today. All snakes are part of the suborder Serpentes, which includes 24 families and over 500 genera.
What is a Group of Snakes Called?
A group of snakes is called a pit, bed, den, or nest. A group of rattlesnakes is often called a rumba or rhumba. However, snakes are mostly solitary animals, so you’re unlikely to see a group of them outside of mating season.
What is the Most Poisonous Snake in the World?
The most venomous snake in the world is probably the inland taipan. The venom of an inland taipan contains a mix of toxins such as neurotoxins, myotoxins, hemotoxins, and even nephrotoxins, all of which work together to shut down the body’s organ systems.
Which Countries Have No Snakes?
Snakes are found all over the world. However, there are 4 countries that have no known snake populations: Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, and Greenland. Although it isn’t a country, there are no snakes in Antarctica.
Before we get to our list of the 25 coolest types of snakes, let’s take a moment to define the characteristics of a snake.
The generally accepted definition of ‘snake’ is a type of long, limbless, and carnivorous reptile that belongs to the suborder Serpentes.
Snakes share physical characteristics with many other reptiles, including some types of lizards. This includes overlapping scales and, in some cases, venom. In fact, lizards and snakes are closely related as both are part of the order Squamata.
The biggest difference between snakes and other reptiles is the fact that snakes don’t have legs. While there are some legless lizards out there, these are the exception, not the rule.
On the other hand, no living snake species have legs. Many types of snakes, like boas and pythons, have remnants of legs that can be seen in their skeletons. However, snakes have evolved over the last hundred million years or so to not have legs.
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Snakes are fairly tricky animals to classify due to the wide variety of snake species that call our planet home.
Researchers generally agree that all snakes belong to the kingdom Animalia, the phylum Chordata, the class Reptilia, and the order Squamata. The order Squamata also includes other scaly reptiles, such as lizards and the so-called worm lizards (amphisbaenians).
Within this order, snakes are further classified into the clade Ophidia. This clade includes all living snake species and a collection of extinct subgroups that are more closely related to modern snakes than other reptiles.
Below the clade Ophidia, snakes are all classified into the suborder Serpentes. From here, things start to get a little complicated, especially when we look at extinct snake species in the fossil record.
But, in general, snakes are further divided into two infraorders: Alethinophidia and Scolecophidia.
The infraorder Alethinophidia includes most of the world’s snakes. These snakes are further divided up into families and genera using both DNA similarities and morphological differences. In many cases, snakes in this infraorder are grouped together by looking at the structure of their heads and teeth. There are 19 families and hundreds of genera in the Alethinophidia infraorder.
Meanwhile, the infraorder Scolecophidia contains the snakes that are more commonly known as thread or blind snakes. Most of these snakes are very small and most are shorter than 40 inches (100 cm) long. There are 5 recognized families and about 39 recognized genera in the infraorder Scolecophidia.
So, there you have it—snakes are a type of limbless and carnivorous reptile in the suborder Serpentes that slithers on the ground. Now, let’s take a look at 25 of the most amazing types of snakes on our planet Earth.
With more than 3,000 living species, snakes are one of the most diverse types of reptiles that roam the planet. Let’s take a look at some amazing snake superlatives so you can impress all your friends with your snake knowledge.
Heaviest Snake: Green Anaconda
The world’s heaviest snake is easily the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus). Most green anacondas are 220 lbs (100 kg) or less, but individuals have been known to weigh upwards of 550 lbs (250 kg). Measuring these snakes is tricky, though, so more research is needed to understand the true weight range of the green anaconda.
Longest Snake: Reticulated Python
The green anaconda might be the world’s heaviest snake, but the reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus) is the longest. These snakes regularly grow to be over 16 feet (4.9 m) long, and some are known to be more than 21 feet (6.4 m) long. That’s one long snake!
Smallest Snake: Barbados Threadsnake
As its name suggests, the Barbados threadsnake (Tetracheilostoma carlae) is a teeny-tiny little reptile. In fact, most Barbados threadsnakes are no more than 4.1 inches (10.4 cm) long and they weigh around 0.02 ounces (0.6 g). When compared to the reticulated python, the Barbados threadsnake is unbelievably small.
Most Venomous Snake: Inland Taipan
Determining the world’s most venomous snake is no easy task and there’s currently no scientific consensus on the matter.
However, the inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) of Australia is arguably one of the most venomous snakes on the planet. It has a mix of toxins in its venom that can quickly lead to death if not treated properly.
Although deaths from inland taipan bites are rare, experts note that a single drop of the snake’s venom has enough toxicity to kill 100 adult humans. This theory hasn’t been scientifically tested, but it sounds scary enough to us to make us want to avoid the inland taipan at all costs.
Most Common Snake: Garter Snake
Out of all of the world’s snakes, the garter snake might be the most common. Technically, the term ‘garter snake’ is a catch-all phrase for the dozens of species in the genus Thamnophis. Garter snakes live throughout North and Central America, where they inhabit a wide range of environments.
There are no official numbers on the health of the total garter snake population. However, the garter snake’s adaptability to a diversity of habitats means that it’s likely one of the most common snake species on the planet.
While the garter snake might be the most common serpent on Earth, the Saint Lucia racer (Erythrolamprus ornatu) is easily the rarest known snake species.
Researchers believe that there are just 20 individual Saint Lucia racers left, all of which live on the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Interestingly, the Saint Lucia racer used to be one of the most common species on the island. But, the introduction of the Asian mongoose to the island in the nineteenth century caused the species’ population to plummet.
The Saint Lucia racer is now the focus of a regional conservation effort. Conservationists on the island are trying to help the highly endangered species make a comeback.
While it might seem impossible to save a species with only 20 known individuals from extinction, it is possible. In fact, in the 1990s, researchers managed to save the Antiguan racer from extinction when there were only 50 individuals left.
After 20 years, there are now more than 1,100 Antiguan racers in the wild. The success of this program bodes well for the Saint Lucia racer in the near future.
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Snakes have a long and complex history with humans. As a result, we humans have a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding snakes and their behaviors. To clear the air once and for all, here’s the truth behind some of the most common snake myths.
Okay, okay, this may be more of a semantic issue than a biological one, but technically, most snakes aren’t poisonous. In fact, they’re venomous!
The difference here is that poisonous things are things that can make you ill if you eat them, smell them, or inject them into your body. Meanwhile, something that is venomous actively injects its toxins into you through a bite or a sting. So, snakes that produce venom in their bites are venomous—not poisonous.
Nevertheless, as is the case with most things in the animal world, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, most garter snakes (which are non-venomous) are poisonous because they have toxins in their body that can harm us if we try to eat them. Who knew?
As a reptile, all snakes hatch from eggs. But, there are a few species of snakes that are ovoviviparous.
Ovoviviparous snakes hatch from eggs, but these eggs actually hatch inside the mother snake. As a result, it looks like the baby snakes are born through live birth, like a mammal, even though they initially hatched from an egg!
There are relatively few ovoviviparous snakes. Many rattlesnakes are ovoviviparous, as are copperheads.
If you’re interested, you can check out this truly amazing video from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife of a copperhead giving birth to live young:
It’s unclear where this myth comes from, but most snakes are not deaf. Snakes don’t have eardrums, which we humans have, but they intricate inner ears that are capable of processing sound.
That being said, snakes are more adept at sensing ground-borne vibrations and low-frequency sounds than high-pitched noises. But they can still hear—and feel—you approaching if you get too close for comfort.
Snakes are one of the world’s most feared animal species. But, like most animal species, the majority of snakes don’t actually want anything to do with us humans.
Indeed, most snakes will try and slither away from you if they see you coming. There are a few exceptions to this rule as some snakes, like the black mamba, are known to be quite aggressive.
However, for the most part, snakes will only bite you if they feel threatened. If you keep your distance from a snake and back away if you accidentally get too close, the chance of getting bitten is relatively low.
It’s a common misconception that snakes can dislocate their jaws to eat large prey. Of course, if you watch a snake eat, it may very well look like it’s dislocating its jaw.
However, since snakes don’t have fused jawbones, they technically can’t dislocate them. Rather, a snake’s jaws are just highly flexible. This flexibility allows a snake to consume prey that would otherwise be too large for its mouth.
Yep, that’s right—snakes are solitary. In fact, you’ll generally only ever see them together during mating and courtship.
Of course, there are some snakes, like the garter snake, that are known to be quite social. Otherwise, two snakes that are near each other outside of the mating season might try to kill and eat each other, which probably wouldn’t bode well for their friendship.
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Fancy yourself an amateur herpetologist? Here are 25 incredible types of snakes that you need to know about.
1. King Cobra
First up on our list is the infamous king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). The king cobra is a type of venomous snake that’s found in jungle regions of Southeastern and Southern Asia.
It’s best known for its threat display, which is a tactic that the king cobra uses to scare off potential predators. As part of this display, the king cobra raises its head upright, spreads its neck flap, and hisses at whatever’s provoking it.
King cobras are also highly venomous, though, like most snake species, the king cobra doesn’t actually want anything to do with humans. The species’ venom contains a mix of neurotoxins and cytotoxins that can cause severe pain, drowsiness, paralysis, and in some cases, death. There is an antivenom for king cobra bites that’s known to be highly effective.
Unfortunately, the king cobra is listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species’ population is decreasing, mostly as a result of habitat loss and poaching.
The world’s heaviest snake, the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is a truly massive boa that lives in South America. It is a non-venomous snake, like all other boas, as it kills its prey through constriction.
Just how long is a green anaconda? Measuring snakes in the wild isn’t an easy task. Researchers believe that the green anaconda can reach lengths of about 17.1 ft (5.2 m) and weights of about 550 lbs (220 kg). However, more research is needed to determine the true average weight of this species as most individuals are less than 220 lbs (100 kg).
Since the snake lives in very remote areas it’s very difficult to study. Its preferred habitat is marshy, swampy, and rainforests areas of the Amazon and Orinoco basins in northern South America. The species is also mostly nocturnal and it spends a lot of its time in the water.
The IUCN lists the green anaconda as a species of least concern, however, the species’ population size isn’t well understood. It faces a number of threats including habitat loss. This habitat loss could reduce the populations of some of the green anaconda’s favorite prey, like capybaras, tapirs, deer, and caimans, threatening the snake species in the process.
3. Black Mamba
One of the most feared snake species in the world, the black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is a highly venomous serpent that lives in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s actually the world’s second-largest venomous snake as it’s beaten in size only by the king cobra.
Despite its name, the black mamba is actually more gray than black in color. However, the interior of its mouth is almost entirely black. The varied scale coloration of the black mamba helps it conceal itself in its preferred habitats, which includes everything from scrub, rocky outcroppings, and even the upper canopies of trees.
The black mamba has a reputation of being particularly terrifying due to its large size, aggressive demeanor, and speed. Its venom is mostly a neurotoxin that can cause vertigo, paralysis, and respiratory failure.
Without proper treatment, which generally involves an antivenom, many black mamba bites do lead to death. However, advancements in black mamba antivenom technology in recent years mean that deaths are becoming increasingly rare.
4. Golden Flying Snake
The golden flying snake (Chrysopelea ornata) is one of the most visually stunning serpents, thanks to its mesmerizing scale pattern. Amazing, the golden flying snake is one of the few snake species that can glide through the air.
Although the golden flying snake can’t fly in the same way that a bird can, it has the ability to soar from tree to tree. Usually, the snake does this by climbing up to a sizable height and then launching itself into the air. It even has a unique concave depression along the underside of its body that it can contract to create a parachute-like surface for improved gliding.
In the wild, the golden flying snake lives primarily in Southeast and East Asia. However, it’s becoming an increasingly popular species in the exotic pet trade. Although the species isn’t listed as endangered, some observers fear that increasing captivity rates of the golden flying snake could lead to an overall decline in its population.
Widely regarded as the world’s longest snake, the reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus) is a huge python species that lives in Southeast and South Asia. It’s found primarily in jungle habitats, especially in areas with lots of water.
The reticulated python can grow to lengths of over 21 feet (6.5 m), which is a few feet larger than the green anaconda. That being said, most individuals don’t grow to lengths of over 19 ft (6 m).
As is the case with all pythons, the reticulated python is not venomous. Rather, it kills its prey, which includes primates, deer, pigs, and civets, through constriction.
The reticulated python is also one of the few serpents that’s known to prey on humans. To be fair, reticulated python attacks on humans are very rare, but there are multiple documented cases of this happening.
One of the most famous incidents was the death of 25-year-old Akbar Salubiro in Indonesia. After he had been missing for a few days, Indonesian authorities confirmed that he had been killed, eaten and swallowed by a reticulated python.
6. Asian Vine Snake
Also known as the Gunther’s whip snake, the Asian vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina) is a visually stunning serpent that lives mostly in southern Asia. It prefers forested habitats where it lives mostly in the trees.
The most interesting thing about the Asian vine snake is its gorgeous green coloration. It has a long, slender body and an array of speckled green scales that help it camouflage well in its native habitat. The Asian vine snake has an impressively thin head, which makes it easy to mistake for a vine on a tree.
According to the IUCN, the Asian vine snake is a species of least concern; however, it is at risk of habitat loss throughout its range. The species has also become a fairly popular species in the exotic pet trade, which could be problematic for its long-term well-being.
The San Francisco garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) is a subspecies of the common garter snake that’s found only in San Mateo County and Santa Cruz County in California.
When compared to other garter snakes, the San Francisco garter snake has a much more colorful set of scales. Individual snakes in the species vary widely in their color patterns, but they’re usually a mix of blue-green, red, orange, and black.
The San Francisco garter snake is non-venomous to humans, but it’s listed as endangered in the US due to habitat loss. It primarily lives in marshy areas, however, widespread human development in its range poses a threat to the species’ survival.
8. Green Tree Python
Boasting a bright green coloration and captivating eyes, the green tree python (Morelia viridis) is a large snake that lives throughout New Guinea, extreme northern Australia, and certain parts of Indonesia.
The green tree python can reach lengths of around 5’ (1.5 m), though individuals in captivity can sometimes be even larger. In the wild, these snakes tend to live about 15 years, but green tree pythons have been known to live more than 20 years in captivity.
Throughout its range, the green tree python is considered to be a species of least concern. However, its population is declining in certain areas due to the exotic pet trade. In particular, it’s a commonly smuggled snake on the island of New Guinea as it’s one of the most popular pet python species.
9. Malagasy Leaf-Nosed Snake
Also known as the Madagascar leaf-nosed snake, the Malagasy leaf-nosed snake (Langaha madagascariensis) is a medium-sized serpent that excels at camouflaging itself in its environment.
Aptly named, the Malagasy leaf-nosed snake is only found on the island of Madagascar. The snake features a highly developed ability to camouflage itself in its preferred woodland habitat thanks to its mottled brown scale coloration. It also has a unique tapered snout that helps it blend in with the trees.
Interestingly, Malagasy leaf-nosed snakes are venomous. However, they are generally quite calm and fearful of humans, so attacks are fairly rare.
10. Eastern Copperhead
The eastern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) is one of many species of copperheads. However, unlike the other copperhead species that are found in Australia and southern Asia, the eastern copperhead is only found in the southeastern and southern United States.
In fact, the eastern copperhead is one of the very few venomous snakes found in North America. It is part of the subfamily Crotalinae, which includes all of the pit vipers.
These snakes have a variety of different toxins in their venom, but most are hemotoxic, which means that they affect the blood. But, most eastern copperhead bites are not fatal and there is an antivenom available.
Nevertheless, most eastern copperheads are not aggressive. You’ll generally stumble upon them in woodland areas, where their brownish scale coloration blends in well with dead leaves and other detritus.
11. Rainbow Boa
Of all the boas, the rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria) is easily one of the most visually appealing. The species is endemic to South and Central America where it lives in woodlands and rainforests.
As its name suggests, the rainbow boa has a unique rainbow-esque coloration. It actually has a unique structure to its scales that give it a somewhat iridescent or holographic appearance. In the right light, these scales can appear as a magnificent rainbow.
There are 5 recognized subspecies of the rainbow boa, most of which inhabit distinct geographic regions. Overall, the rainbow boa is listed as a species of least concern, even though it’s often captured for sale in the exotic pet trade.
12. Desert Horned Viper
Sometimes called the Saharan or the Arabian horned viper, the desert horned viper (Cerastes cerastes) is a venomous snake that lives mostly in North Africa, the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula.
The desert horned viper’s name comes from the fact that it has a set of distinctive horns. These horns are typically located over each eye, but they can be absent in some individuals. The species is also usually tan or brown in color, which helps it camouflage well in its native desert habitat.
When compared to other snakes, the desert horned viper has a somewhat unique movement pattern. Instead of slithering across the ground, this snake uses a technique called sidewinding, which lets the snake move sideways by pressing its whole body into the ground.
The desert horned viper is also fairly venomous to humans. Its venom usually causes bleeding, swelling, nausea, and other similar ailments. Thankfully, the snake’s bites usually aren’t fatal to adult humans.
13. Banded Krait
The banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus) is a large venomous snake that lives on the Indian Subcontinent and in other parts of southern Asia. It’s actually the largest of the kraits, which are a collection of snakes that belong to the genus Bungarus.
The banded krait is easy to identify because it has a set of alternating black and yellow bands that run the entire length of its body. In the right light, these black bands can look somewhat blueish, giving the snake an even more impressive coloration.
Most banded kraits are shy around humans and will slither away if given the chance. They actually prefer to feed on other, smaller snakes, such as the sunbeam snake and the Russell’s viper, rather than mammals or birds.
As is the case with all kraits, the banded krait is venomous. It’s a type of elapid, so its venom primarily contains neurotoxins. Bites are relatively rare, but they can cause vomiting, respiratory failure, and even death. There’s also an antivenom for the banded krait bite, so fatal bites are unlikely.
14. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Found only in the southeastern United States, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) is one of the largest venomous snakes in the Western Hemisphere with a maximum weight of around 34 lbs (15.4 kg). Additionally, it’s one of the heaviest venomous snakes in the world as it’s just slightly smaller than the king cobra.
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake lives primarily in Florida and the Gulf Coast states. However, it can be found as far north as southeastern North Carolina. It’s not to be confused with the similar western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), which lives in northern Mexico, Texas, and the southwestern United States.
Like all true rattlesnakes, the eastern diamondback is venomous. It’s often considered to be one of the more dangerous snakes in North America, but it’s not particularly aggressive if left alone. Fatal bites from the eastern diamondback are rare and there is an antivenom available, though many patients recover from these bites without the need for antivenom.
15. Eyelash Viper
Found throughout the rainforests of Central and South America, the eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) is a small snake that’s known for its funky facial features.
The eyelash viper boasts a set of scales above its eyes that look surprisingly similar to a set of eyelashes. It’s not clear why the species evolved to have these scales, but researchers believe that they might help with camouflage.
Interestingly, the eyelash viper has a prehensile tail, which it can use to pick up prey and other objects. It mostly eats birds, lizards, rodents, and other small mammals that it can find in its forested habitat.
The eyelash viper is also one of the relatively few ovoviviparous snake species. This means that young eyelash vipers hatch from their eggs inside their mother’s body, at which point they undergo a live birth.
Once regarded as the world’s rarest snake species, the Antiguan racer (Alsophis antiguae) is a medium-sized snake that only lives on a few islands near Antigua. Until recently, the snake was only found on Great Bird Island, however, it has since been reintroduced to other nearby islands that were a traditional part of its range.
The Antiguan racer was the subject of one of the most successful snake conservation efforts in recent human history. Before the arrival of European colonists in the Caribbean in the fifteenth century, the snake lived throughout the islands surrounding Antigua.
However, plantation owners in the region eventually introduced Asian mongooses to their land to protect their crops from rats. Rather than eat the rats, the mongooses heavily preyed upon the Antiguan racer and nearly drove it to extinction in a few decades.
In the 1990s, there were fewer than 50 individual Antiguan racers left. Over the next few decades, conservationists eradicated the mongooses and rats in Antigua and established a breeding program. Today, the species is still considered to be critically endangered, but there are at least 1,100 individuals in the wild and the population continues to grow.
17. Eastern Tiger Snake
Also called the mainland island snake, the eastern tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) is one of the most venomous snakes in Australia. It lives throughout the southern part of the country, including in Tasmania.
These ground-dwelling snakes have a striped, tiger-like pattern that helps them blend in with their varied habitats. Tiger snakes can live anywhere from wetlands to the open bush, and there are at least 2 recognized subspecies.
Despite the fact that the eastern tiger snake has a particularly potent venom, fatal bites from the species are uncommon among otherwise healthy adults. Additionally, the species is actually protected in many Australian states. So, killing or injuring one for reasons other than self-defense can land you a hefty fine or even a jail sentence.
18. Spider-Tailed Horned Viper
Most snakes are adept hunters, but few have evolved to have a hunting technique as efficient as that of the spider-tailed horned viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides).
The spider-tailed horned viper is a recently identified snake species that’s found only in western Iran. It was first described in academic literature in 2006. But, it has since become somewhat well-known, thanks to the fact that it was featured in an episode of the BBC’s Seven Worlds, One Planet series.
As its name suggests, the spider-tailed horned viper has a tail that looks remarkably like a spider. The snake is also well-camouflaged, thanks to its mottled brown scales. To hunt, the spider-tailed horned viper waves around its tail to lure in insect-eating birds. When the bird gets close enough, the viper strikes and gets a tasty meal.
Since the spider-tailed horned viper was relatively recently identified, little is known about its conservation status or its range. It’s believed that the snake only lives in rocky areas along the Iran-Iraq border. But, more research is needed to truly understand this species’ population trends.
19. Banded Sea Krait
The banded sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) is a type of venomous sea snake that lives in the waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. It features a blue and black striped coloration as well as a distinctive yellow snout.
One unique characteristic of the banded sea krait is its paddle-like tail. This tail helps it swim more efficiently so it can hunt a range of different fish. In some cases, a banded sea krait can even hunt eels. Check out this video of a banded sea krait hunting and eating a moray eel in Thailand to learn more:
Although the banded sea krait is a very skilled hunter, it doesn’t generally pose any dangers to humans. In fact, the species is hunted in some parts of the Philippines and Japan, where it is often used in local cuisine.
20. Santa Catalina Island Rattlesnake
Baja California is home to no shortage of cool animal species, and the Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake (Crotalus catalinensis) is yet another example of the peninsula’s amazing biodiversity.
The Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake is an endangered snake that lives only on Isla Santa Catalina, just off the coast of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. It’s fairly small for a rattlesnake, but its most interesting feature is the fact that it doesn’t actually have a rattle!
Instead of a rattle, the Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake has a small button on the end of its tail. This lack of a rattle is believed to be an evolutionary adaptation for hunting birds in its isolated environment. Even so, the snake is classified with other rattlesnakes in the Crotalinae subfamily and the genus Crotalus, despite its rattle-free tail.
Oh, but we should mention that the rattle-less Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake is sometimes confused with a type of rattlesnake found on Santa Catalina Island in the US state of California’s Channel Islands.
This Channel Islands snake is actually the southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri), and it does have a rattle. The snake found in Baja California does not. Confusing, we know.
21. Tentacled Snake
Thought tentacles were just for squids and octopi? Think again! There’s at least one snake out there, the tentacled snake (Erpeton tentaculatum), that sports its very own set of tentacles.
Technically, the so-called tentacles on the tentacled snakes aren’t the same thing that you’d find on a jellyfish. But, the tentacled snake does have a set of two tentacle-like structures that protrude from the front of its face. These structures provide it with some sort of sensory function, but researchers aren’t entirely sure how this works.
The tentacled snake lives in southeastern Asia where it spends its entire life in water. It’s mostly found in rice paddies, slow-moving streams, and lakes, but it’s just as happy in brackish or seawater. Here, it enjoys eating fish and coming up to the surface of the water every 30 minutes or so to catch some air.
Featuring gorgeous black and green speckled scales and a slender head, the boomslang (Dispholidus typus) is a type of highly venomous snake that lives in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
In general, the boomslang prefers to live in trees where its green and black scales provide excellent camouflage from predators. Its venom is primarily a hemotoxin and it has been known to kill humans, though fatal attacks are rare.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you may even recognize the boomslang’s name from the series’ second book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In the book, Professor Snape interrogates Harry over the boomslang skin that’s missing from his private storecupboard.
Apparently, boomslang skin can be mixed with lacewing flies to make Polyjuice Potion. Whether this actually works is a wizarding secret, but snake lovers everywhere can rejoice at the mention of one of the world’s coolest snakes in this best-selling series.
23. Corn Snake
One of the most popular pet snakes in the world, the corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) is a small, non-venomous rat snake that lives in the southeastern United States. It gets its name from the fact that it likes to live near large grain stores where its favorite foods—mice and rats—often hang out.
Superficially, corn snakes look a lot like the highly venomous copperhead snake, which is also found in its range. However, the corn snake isn’t venomous as it kills its prey through constriction.
Since it’s non-venomous and relatively docile, the corn snake is a common sight in home vivariums. In fact, corn snakes are particularly tolerant of being handled for extended periods of time, so they’re often a good choice for first-time snake caregivers.
24. Iridescent Shieldtail
Sometimes called the two-lined black shieldtail, the iridescent shieldtail (Melanophidium bilineatum) is a poorly understood snake that lives in southern India.
The iridescent shieldtail is actually one of the least-studied snakes in the world. It was first described in academic literature in 1870 by Colonel Richard Henry Beddome. Since then, the remoteness of the iridescent shieldtail’s range in the alpine regions of the Western Ghats has made it difficult for researchers to study it in the wild.
Despite the relative lack of research on the iridescent shieldtail, it’s clear that one of the species’ most striking characteristics is its coloration. It features a set of gorgeous blueish-black scales that shine in the light, giving it an iridescent sheen. The snake also usually has yellow and blue lines running down its sides, which is why it’s often called the two-lined black shieldtail.
25. Eastern Hognose Snake
Unlike most other snakes, the eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos) has a wide, rounded head with an upturned snout. It’s found in scattered parts of North America, including in the Upper Midwest, the southeastern United States, and the Mid-Atlantic states. It’s also found in parts of the extreme southern region of the province of Ontario in Canada.
The eastern hognose snake’s distinctive facial features are an evolutionary adaptation. Its upturned snout helps it dig into sandy soils, which can help it hide or search for prey.
Interestingly, while the eastern hognose snake does have fangs and the ability to inject venom into its prey, it’s widely regarded as a harmless snake. That’s because its venom seems to only affect amphibians. So, most humans that get bitten by eastern hognose snakes, which is a rare occurrence to begin with, only experience swelling around the bite site.