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Snake Identification Challenge of the Week: The Usual Suspects

Hi Dr. Steen,
I’m a fan of your blog.  I recently purchased some property in Augusta, MO (originally from Washington DC), so I’m on a major wildlife identification kick.  In a short month, my trail cam has picked up red fox, grey fox, coyote, raccoons, possums, deer, etc.  Recently I was doing some weed eating in an area that hasn’t been touched in years and found the juvenile snake in the photo.  I carefully scooped him up and dropped him off in a pile of leaves a little deeper in the woods.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out what he is.
Thanks for any help,


 This fellow fell out of my truck door as I opened it.  I caught him and hoped he would be a rat snake based on the round pupils, but the head is too similar to his 7ft long cousin I already had a run in with.  Can you identify?  

Barbara K.

Can you tell what kind of snake this is? 

Melissa P.
North Carolina

What Are These Snakes?

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules
-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that’s why I run these posts.
-If you can’t explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you’re wrong, we can explain why. If you’re right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the point of these posts.

-This is not a pop quiz, any kind of research is encouraged and I hope you will engage with other commenters to try to figure these snakes out. I will eventually chime in with my thoughts.

-Assume I know what kind of snake is in the picture. I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don’t send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed. Don’t hate, educate.

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