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Readers Write In: A Mystery Snake Found While Hiking

We were hiking and came across this little guy. The area was upstate SC mountains. The pic is a little hard to see as I wasn’t going to get too close. 

Heather K.
Abbeville, SC

Although this species is commonly encountered, we do not often see it featured on this blog. In fact, I don’t recall us ever being asked to identify one. So…Readers, do not let me down: what is this snake species? As always, guesses are welcome and please let us know how you came to your conclusion.