University of Maryland Extension


Back to Problems - Annuals, Bulbs, Groundcovers, Perennials, and Vines
Back to Wildlife

hog-nosed snake
Coiled hognose snake

Maryland has several species of snakes that live in rural, suburban and urban areas. All are perfectly harmless except for the Copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake (light phase, dark phase). Both are found mostly in the northern and western regions of the state. Of all the reptiles, snakes are considered the most highly adapted to man's environment. One reason is that many snakes eat rodents which are most plentiful where people live. The most common species of snakes that live around the home include eastern garter snake, brown snake, worm snake, ring neck snake, hog-nosed snake (see above photo), black rat snake, and eastern king snake. Northern water snakes sometimes are seen if there is a stream or pond nearby.

Although many people are afraid of snakes, they should not be harmed. They all are beneficial and their presence in the backyard is only part of nature. Even if you suspect that the snake is venomous, avoid killing it. Countless species of harmless snakes are killed because people thought they were doing the right thing. Snakes occasionally wander into basements. Prevent this from occurring by caulking all openings around the house, especially windows and doors. To discourage snakes from living close to your house, remove stacks of firewood, leaves or other debris from near the home. Snakes like to hide in dense vegetation and debris. When working in areas where copperheads and rattlesnakes are found, wear gloves when moving logs, rock or underbrush. Look first before putting your hands where a venomous snake might be hiding.

Photo Gallery

adult copperheadtimber rattle snake
Copperhead - Richard Gardner,                Dark timber rattle snake

light timber rattle snakeEastern garter snake
Copperhead - Richard Gardner,                   Garter Snake (harmless) 

worm snake adultring neck snake adult
Worm snake                                         Ring necked snake 

adult black rat snakeNorthern water snake
Black rat snake                                     Northern water snake 

Additional Resources

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