List of snakes of South Dakota

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Snakes of South Dakota[1]
Common name Scientific name Distribution (within South Dakota) Description Photograph
Brown snake Storeria dekayi eastern Roberts County (status in question; last formal reported sighting in 1922) 8 - 15 inches in length, greyish-brown to reddish-brown colouration, with light stripe down the center of the back (bordered by parallel row of dark spots), and dark markings under and/or behind each eye Storeria dekayi texana.jpg
Bullsnake Pituophis catenifer All portions of the state west of the Missouri river, all counties adjacent to the east bank of the Missouri river, and across southeastern & central South Dakota 36 - 72 inches in length, yellowish colouration (with brown or black blotches that appear as rings near the tail) Gopher snake1.jpg
Common garter snake (sometimes called the "red-sided garter snake") Thamnophis sirtalis throughout the state 15 - 28 inches in length, bright yellow or orange stripe along middle of the back, yellow or orange stripe along each side, with black spots on red colouration also along both sides Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis Wooster.jpg
Eastern hognose snake Heterodon platirhinos extreme southeastern fringe of the state 20 - 33 inches in length, slightly upturned snout (as compared to the Plains hognose snake), highly variable in colouration (with dark blotches along center, and alternating spots on each side) Heterodon platirhinosPCCA20060423-3588B.jpg
Fox snake Elaphe vulpina far southeastern South Dakota 36 - 54 inches in length, yellowish to light brown in colouration (with bold blotches)
Lined snake Tropidoclonion far southeastern South Dakota 9 - 15 inches in length, grey or brown in colouration (with three pale stripes; one along the back, and one each along either side)
Milk snake ("pale" subspecies) Lampropeltis triangulum multistrata (a variety of "kingsnake") the pale milk snake subspecies is found throughout that portion of the state west of the Missouri river, as well as in counties adjacent to the river's east bank 16 - 28 inches in length, red and orange blotches bordered with black, and separated by yellow or white bands (head is orange with black flecks)
Milk snake ("red" subspecies) Lampropeltis triangulum syspila (a variety of "kingsnake") the red milk snake subspecies is found in far southeastern South Dakota 16 - 28 inches in length, red and orange blotches bordered with black, and separated by yellow or white bands (with red head & snout) Red milk snake.JPG
Plains garter snake Thamnophis radix throughout the state 20 - 28 inches in length, bright yellow or orange stripe along middle of the back, with yellow or orange stripe & alternating row of dark spots along each side, with dark head Plains gartersnake.jpg
Plains hognose snake Heterodon nasicus throughout the state 15 - 25 inches in length, sharply upturned snout (as compared to the eastern hognose snake), dark blotches along center and sides of body, blackish underside Heterodon nasicus.jpg
Prairie rattlesnake Crotalus viridis throughout that portion of the state west of the Missouri river, as well as in counties adjacent to the river's east bank 30 - 45 inches in length, South Dakota's only venomous snake (bite is potentially fatal to humans), readily identifiable by rattle segment(s) at the end of the tail, light brown to greenish in colouration, triangular-shaped head with pits located below the midline of each eye & nostril Crotalus viridis 02.jpg
Racer (sometimes called the "blue racer") Coluber constrictor foxii throughout that portion of the state west of the Missouri river, as well as in counties adjacent to the river's east bank 30 - 50 inches in length, adults are blue to greenish in colouration (with a bright yellow belly), while juveniles have an ornate blotched, spotted, and speckled pattern Coiledblueracersnake.jpg
Redbelly snake ("Black Hills" subspecies) Storeria occipitomaculata pahasapae the Black Hills redbelly snake subspecies is found within the Black Hills of South Dakota 8 - 11 inches in length, slender body with grey, brown, or reddish-brown colouration, with a white chin, red belly, light spots on neck, & faint light stripe(s) along the back
Redbelly snake ("northern" subspecies) Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata the northern redbelly snake subspecies is found in extreme eastern South Dakota 8 - 11 inches in length, slender body with grey, brown, or reddish-brown colouration, with a white chin, red belly, light spots on neck, & faint light stripe(s) along the back Redbelly Snake - Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata.jpg
Ringneck snake Diadophis punctatus far southeastern South Dakota 10 - 15 inches in length, dark (black or grey) upper body, a yellow or orange belly (with black spots), and a bright yellow or yellow-orange ring around the neck Diadophis punctatus1.jpg
Smooth green snake Liochlorophis vernalis non-contiguous regions of far northeastern and far southeastern South Dakota, plus a third pocket in the Black Hills 14 - 20 inches in length, small and slender, with uniformly green upper body, head, and tail (and a whitish belly) Smooth Green Snake.jpg
Wandering garter snake Thamnophis elegans vagrans[2] the Black Hills 18 - 30 inches in length, dull brown to greenish in colouration, yellow or orange mid-dorsal stripe on each side, a brown head (with yellow spots) and black bars on the lips
Water snake (sometimes called the "northern water snake") Nerodia sipedon southern riverine and wetland areas of Bon Homme County (near Springfield) 24 - 42 inches in length, dark brown to grey in colouration, dark upper bands on front part of body, alternating dark blotches or crossbands on the rear portion of the upper body (juveniles are lighter in color) Nerodia sipedonPCSL02111B1.jpg

References[edit]

  1. ^ South Dakota Snakes: A Field Guide to Snake Identification, by Steve Thompson and Doug Blacklund, a publication of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, 1998
  2. ^ CaliforniaHerps.com, "Thamnophis elegans vagrans - Wandering Gartersnake," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2011).