Venomous Snakes of Kansas | Krebs Creek (2023)

There are 42 different snakes in Kansas. Out of these, there are 6 venomous snakes. In this article, we will list the venomous snakes and describe each snake and where you will likely find them in Kansas.

Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)
Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
Western Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

Shop Amazon for snake safety gear.

Venomous Snakes of Kansas | Krebs Creek (1)

Western Cottonmouth

TheWestern Cottonmouthis a stout, muscular snake that grows up to 3 feet long. They share some of the characteristics with rattlesnakes without the rattle on the tail. They are also mistaken for a common water snake sometimes, which could be a dangerous mistake. TheWestern Cottonmouthhas a dark brown to black body with little to no markings. The inside of their mouth is white, hence the name “cottonmouth.” When threatened, they will pose with their mouth open. They have cat-like pupils, which in the day appear as narrow slits and at night have a round appearance.

There have been rare sitings of Western Cottonmouth in southeastern Kansas in the Spring River drainage of Cherokee County. They spend most of their time near swamps, marshes, rivers, and lakes. They can hold their breath underwater for up to an hour while hunting for prey.

Their venom is cytotoxic and will destroy your body tissue if you are bitten and can lead to amputation, and on rare occasions, death.

Venomous Snakes of Kansas | Krebs Creek (2)

Eastern Copperhead

The adult Eastern Copperhead can grow to the length of 20 – 37 inches, including the tail. They have a moderately stout body with a broad head that is distinct from the neck. Their snout slopes down and back, making the top of the head extends further forward than the mouth. Their bodies are tan with dark brown, hourglass-shaped crossbands that fade to a lighter brown in the center of the bands.

You will find the Eastern Copperhead throughout the eastern third of Kansas. You will also find Eastern Copperhead/Broadbanded Copperhead hybrids between the Verdigris River and Walnut River drainages. They are found in river bottoms where the leaf and plant debris provide cover for them to hide. They are also, at times, located in wooded suburbs.

(Video) Kansas' Venomous Snakes

Like mostpit vipers, the Eastern copperheads venom is hemotoxic.

Venomous Snakes of Kansas | Krebs Creek (3)

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The largest of the southwestern desert rattlesnakes, the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake grows from 4 feet and up to 7 feet long. They have dark diamond-shaped patterns along their back, which is why the name “Diamondback.” A dark line runs from the corner of the mouth to behind the eye. Their base color varies from straw-yellow, tan, salmon, gray, gray-brown, cream, or olive. The dorsal spots’ edges are usually darker, while the centers are only slightly darker than the base color. Their tail has two to eight black bands separated by pale gray bands.

TheWestern Diamondback Rattlesnakesare rare in Kansas but have been spotted in the extreme south-central counties of Comanche and Barber. They live in deserts, plains, rocky regions, and forests.

Complications ofWestern Diamondback RattlesnakeBite may include severe pain at the bite site, blood clotting defects resulting in severe internal bleeding. Deep tissue and muscle damage can lead to gangrene. In some cases, the snake toxin can cause extensive muscle breakdown, leading to various complications, including kidney failure. Source

Venomous Snakes of Kansas | Krebs Creek (4)

Timber Rattlesnake

The averageTimber Rattlesnakegrows between 36 to 60 inches long. However, there have been reports of them growing up to 7 feet long. They vary in color; some have a gray, with a pinkish hue body. They have a stripe down their back that ranges from pinkish, orange, brown, or black, with dark brown to black chevron, patterned bands on their back and sides. Some of the snakes are very dark and almost completely black.

TheTimber Rattlesnakelives in various habitats, including mountainous forests, pine forests, swamps, farm fields, and river floodplains. In the winter, they are found hibernating in crevices in the ground. These snakes are marvelous climbers and have been found in trees at heights of more than 80 feet.Source

You will find the Timber Rattlesnake spread throughout the eastern third of the state.

Due to its long fangs, impressive size, and highvenomyield, theTimber Rattlesnakeis one of North America’s most dangerous snakes. Some of the complications from a Timber Rattlesnake bite may include severe shock, seizures, coma, severe internal bleeding, and deep tissue damage, leading to gangrene.Source

(Video) Snakes in Kansas

Venomous Snakes of Kansas | Krebs Creek (5)

Prairie Rattlesnake

ThePrairie Rattlesnakegrows anywhere from 3ft to 5ft long. They are tan-colored with varying colors of brown blotches covering their bodies. They have a distinguishing triangle-shaped head with pit sensory organs on either side. A light stripe runs diagonally from the back of its eye to its jaw and another strip runs diagonally from below its eye to the corner of its mouth. Prairie Rattlesnakes are mostly ground snakes, but they occasionally climb into shrubs, bushes, or trees. Their venom is both hemotoxic and neurotoxic.

Prairie Rattlesnakesare found throughout the western half of the state of Kansas.

APrairie Rattlesnakebite’s signs and symptoms include extreme pain, blistering, swelling, nausea, and vomiting. The venom can impair blood coagulation and break down the red blood cells, leading to tissue necrosis, shock, and rarely multiple organ damage.Source

Venomous Snakes of Kansas | Krebs Creek (6)

Western Massasauga

TheWestern Massasaugarattlesnake grows to a length between 14 – 36 inches. Their body is a light gray with dark brown blotches. They are similar to the Desert Massasauga but lighter in color. They also have a dark stripe that goes from the side of their face and across the eye.

It is given the nickname “buzztale” for its high-pitched rattle sound, which is different from other rattlesnakes.

TheWestern Massasaugacan be found throughout much of Kansas’ eastern two-thirds and also west along the Arkansas and Cimmaron Rivers.

The venom of theWestern Massasaugarattlesnake is cytotoxic venom that destroys tissue. The cytotoxic venom contains digestive enzymes that disrupt blood flow and prevent blood from clotting. A bite to a human is rare. Most bites occur after someone deliberately handles them or accidentally steps on one. In Ontario, Canada, there are two cases of people dying from a not properly treated bite because the specific antivenom is not easily acquired.

Symptoms of Venomous Snake Bites

Some of the symptoms you may experience when a venomous snake bites you include:

(Video) Around Kansas Kansas Snakes April 03, 2019

  • Discoloration in the area of the bite.
  • Swelling in the area of the bite.
  • Loss of your muscle coordination.
  • Tingling sensation in the area of the bite.
  • Feeling nauseous.
  • Having a faster heartbeat or rapid pulse.

What Should You Do If You Are Bitten?

If you think you or someone you know or encounter has been bitten by a rattlesnake, time is precious because of the effects that the venom causes on the human body. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect that a rattlesnake or other venomous snake bit you. Take these first aid steps in the case that a rattlesnake or other venomous snake has bitten you or someone around you:

  • Remain calm and limit your movements. Do not run. If you must hike back to a vehicle, do it in a calm, deliberate manner. Put as little stress on your heart as possible.
  • Keep the area of the snake bite below the heart level and never above heart level. Keeping the bite below the heart level will reduce the venom’s flow, while holding the bite above your heart level will increase the venom’s flow.
  • Since the snake bite will swell, it is advised to remove all constricting items such as bracelets, watches, or rings because the area will most likely begin swelling.
  • You can wash the bite area like you would any other wound with soap and water.
  • You may cover the bite area with a moist dressing to reduce the swelling and some of the discomfort you or the person that has been bitten may be feeling.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible. If you or someone has a phone, call the hospital or ambulance to tell them a venomous snake may have bitten you so they can have the anti-venom ready to give you as soon as you arrive.

A person who a venomous snake has bitten may go into shock. If this happens, you should lay them flat and cover them with a blanket.

After a poisonous snake has bitten someone, they will attempt to kill it to take it in to be identified. This is rarely a good idea. It’s potentially a good way to get bit again. Remember, a dead snake can still bite you. Also consider, that severed snakeheads can still bite and envenomate and often do. If you have a phone, take a picture of the offending reptile. Otherwise, get started on your way to the doctor.

Patty Bingham

Recent Posts

link to Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys

(Video) Bit by a VENOMOUS SNAKE!!! (Caught on camera!)

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is the largest of the upland game birds that are native to North America. They are similar in appearance to domestic turkeys, but they have longer legs and a...

Continue Reading

link to Paiute Cutthroat Trout

Paiute Cutthroat Trout

Paiute Cutthroat trout "Oncorhynchus clarki seleniris", are the rarest trout species in the world. Their home range is very small, and it is being encroached upon by nonnative trout species. To make...

(Video) Meet Three Missouri Snakes

Continue Reading

FAQs

What is the most venomous snake in Kansas? ›

The Timber Rattlesnake is the most deadly of the venomous snakes in Kansas so if you do see one you should leave it alone.

What venomous snakes are native to Kansas? ›

Of the 42 species of snakes in Kansas, there are only four native venomous snakes you might encounter: the prairie rattlesnake – found in the western half of the state; the massasauga rattlesnake – found in the eastern two-thirds of the state; the timber rattlesnake – found in the eastern fourth of the state; and the ...

Which US state has the most venomous snakes? ›

While plenty of states are host to a variety of poisonous creatures, the state with the largest number of venomous reptiles is Arizona.

Are there water moccasin snakes in Kansas? ›

The poisonous water moccasin has been taken only once in Kansas. This was on the Neosho River in Labette County at the Cherokee County line. It is on the basis of this single specimen that it is counted as one of the snakes of Kansas!

Do copperheads like water? ›

While many of these reptiles reside in the water, the bulk of them live on terra firma. Copperhead snakes (Agkistrodon contortrix) are willing to go into the water, but they're usually seen elsewhere. These snakes are toxic, so it's wise to stay away from them.

What is the largest snake in Kansas? ›

The Gopher Snake, which is also called the Bull Snake, is a non-venomous snake found in the central and western prairies and woodlands of Kansas. This is the largest snake in Kansas that can reach 6-feet in length or longer.
...
7. Gopher Snake.
Species:P. catenifer
Adult size:37 – 72 inches
3 more rows
27 Jul 2022

Are there venomous water snakes in Kansas? ›

Water snakes will behave in a way that appears aggressive and will bite when they feel threatened, so they are often mistaken for copperheads or cottonmouths. Water snakes are not venomous.

How many venomous snakes are there in Kansas? ›

Five Kansas snakes are also categorized as venomous snakes: Copperhead Snakes, Cottonmouth Snakes, Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), Prairie Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) and Western Massasauga (Sistrurus tergeminus). Copperheads are fairly common in eastern areas in open spaces and forest edges.

What's the most poisonous snake on earth? ›

The inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) is considered the most venomous snake in the world with a murine LD 50 value of 0.025 mg/kg SC. Ernst and Zug et al. 1996 list a value of 0.01 mg/kg SC, which makes it the most venomous snake in the world in their study too.

What three states have no snakes? ›

That makes Alaska one of two states to be snake-free, the other being Hawaii. As an island, Hawaii is more representative of why most countries without snakes have gotten so lucky: They're geographically isolated.

What snake kills the most humans in the US? ›

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) kills the most people in the US, with the western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) ranking second.

Which is worse copperhead or rattlesnake? ›

Copperheads bite more people than any other U.S. snake species, according to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State University. But their venom is mild and rarely fatal. Generally, rattlesnakes are considered the most venomous and the most likely to cause death, said Schulte.

Where are copperheads in Kansas? ›

Copperheads in Kansas can be found all over the state, but are more populous in the eastern side. They're particularly fond of grasslands and the edge zones between forest and meadow.

Are Kansas black snakes poisonous? ›

They have dark or black coloration that runs from their heads to their tails. However, these snakes are not only black. Their bellies are usually colored red or pink. Not only are these snakes beautiful to watch, but they are also non-venomous and shouldn't scare you.

Are there diamondback rattlesnakes in Kansas? ›

Suitable habitat for the Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake does exist in southeastern Kiowa, western Barber, and eastern Comanche counties in Kansas.

What time of day are copperheads most active? ›

Copperheads are most active from the late afternoon into the evening, and prefer cooler areas to hide. They hibernate in the winter, and emerge in the spring for mating season.

Do copperheads come out at night? ›

According to the Ohio Public Library Information Network (opens in new tab), copperheads are usually out and about during the day in the spring and fall, but during the summer they become nocturnal. They especially like being out on humid, warm nights after rain.

What snake is mistaken for a copperhead? ›

Blackrat Snake) The most common snake misidentified as a copperhead is the harmless juvenile Eastern Ratsnake (formerly called the blackrat snake). The Eastern Ratsnake starts life with a strong pattern of gray or brown blotches on a pale gray background.

What happens if a garter snake bites you? ›

Bite. While most species are classified as harmless (non-venomous), their bite can cause minor swelling or itching in humans, and anyone bitten by a garter snake should clean the bite thoroughly. It is not ultimately a cause for concern.

Are milk snakes in Kansas? ›

The Eastern Milksnake is likely found in extreme southeast Kansas; the Western Milksnake is found through the remainder of the state.

Do water snakes bite? ›

Even though water snakes are nonvenomous, they can still bite and are often killed by humans out of fear that they are cottonmouths.

Is a water moccasin a pit viper? ›

The cottonmouth or water moccasin, Agkistrodon piscivorus, is a semi-aquatic pit viper found throughout the southeastern United States and into east Texas. Cottonmouth snakes are part of the Crotalinae family of pit vipers which includes rattlesnakes and copperheads.

Are there scorpions in Kansas? ›

Kansas is home to a single breed of scorpion, known as the bark scorpion. They like cool and moist areas, so you can often find them under pieces of bark, under rocks, under bricks and even in your house.

What snakes in Kansas lay eggs? ›

Kansas snakes are about evenly divided between the two. Kingsnakes, rat snakes, bullsnakes, racers and many smaller snakes lay eggs in early summer and deposit them in a spot suitable for hatching, generally beneath a rock or in the soil.

How do snakes get in your house? ›

How Do Snakes Get Inside Homes? Snakes wander into homes in search of prey and nesting sites or find themselves inside purely by accident. Because snakes cannot chew or dig, they must gain entrance through small holes and cracks. Depending on their size, snakes may even be able to slither under gaps in doors.

Are there water moccasins in southeast Kansas? ›

K-State Research and Extension reports that the poisonous water moccasin has rarely been captured in extreme southeast Kansas. Copperheads, however, are likely the most-abundant poisonous snake in eastern Kansas, according to the report. The report says copperheads are about 2 to 3 feet long.

What snake kills the most humans every year? ›

The killer of the most people

The saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus) may be the deadliest of all snakes, since scientists believe it to be responsible for more human deaths than all other snake species combined.

What animal is immune to snake venom? ›

The hedgehog (Erinaceidae), the mongoose (Herpestidae), the honey badger (Mellivora capensis) and the opossum are known to be immune to a dose of snake venom.

Which snake has no anti venom? ›

The Sind Krait can be easily classified as one of the most “toxic snakes” in India but there is no effective anti-venom to treat its bite, the study added.

Does Kansas have king snakes? ›

Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes

Speckled Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis holbrooki) extend their range across the state and need not worry about the state's rattlesnake population because they are immune to the venom. In effect, they are the top snake in Kansas.

Are Kansas black snakes poisonous? ›

They have dark or black coloration that runs from their heads to their tails. However, these snakes are not only black. Their bellies are usually colored red or pink. Not only are these snakes beautiful to watch, but they are also non-venomous and shouldn't scare you.

Are there venomous water snakes in Kansas? ›

Water snakes will behave in a way that appears aggressive and will bite when they feel threatened, so they are often mistaken for copperheads or cottonmouths. Water snakes are not venomous.

What's the most poisonous snake on earth? ›

The inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) is considered the most venomous snake in the world with a murine LD 50 value of 0.025 mg/kg SC. Ernst and Zug et al. 1996 list a value of 0.01 mg/kg SC, which makes it the most venomous snake in the world in their study too.

Where are copperheads in Kansas? ›

Copperheads in Kansas can be found all over the state, but are more populous in the eastern side. They're particularly fond of grasslands and the edge zones between forest and meadow.

What happens if a garter snake bites you? ›

Bite. While most species are classified as harmless (non-venomous), their bite can cause minor swelling or itching in humans, and anyone bitten by a garter snake should clean the bite thoroughly. It is not ultimately a cause for concern.

Are there a lot of snakes in Kansas? ›

Kansas and Missouri are home to some 40 different species of snakes. Most snakes are non-venomous, except for three — the copperhead, the timber rattlesnake, and the massasauga. In the metro, the more common of three is the copperhead.

Is a water moccasin a pit viper? ›

The cottonmouth or water moccasin, Agkistrodon piscivorus, is a semi-aquatic pit viper found throughout the southeastern United States and into east Texas. Cottonmouth snakes are part of the Crotalinae family of pit vipers which includes rattlesnakes and copperheads.

How can u tell if a snake is venomous? ›

While most snakes have a triangular head, venomous snakes will have a more bulging look to them, especially along their jaws, because of their venomous sacks. Harmless snakes will have a skinnier head because of their lack of venomous sacks.

Are milk snakes in Kansas? ›

The Eastern Milksnake is likely found in extreme southeast Kansas; the Western Milksnake is found through the remainder of the state.

Do water snakes bite? ›

Even though water snakes are nonvenomous, they can still bite and are often killed by humans out of fear that they are cottonmouths.

Are there scorpions in Kansas? ›

Kansas is home to a single breed of scorpion, known as the bark scorpion. They like cool and moist areas, so you can often find them under pieces of bark, under rocks, under bricks and even in your house.

What snake kills the most humans every year? ›

The killer of the most people

The saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus) may be the deadliest of all snakes, since scientists believe it to be responsible for more human deaths than all other snake species combined.

What animal is immune to snake venom? ›

The hedgehog (Erinaceidae), the mongoose (Herpestidae), the honey badger (Mellivora capensis) and the opossum are known to be immune to a dose of snake venom.

Which snake has no anti venom? ›

The Sind Krait can be easily classified as one of the most “toxic snakes” in India but there is no effective anti-venom to treat its bite, the study added.

Videos

1. Wild Kansas Pit Vipers
(coppertimber)
2. Jay catches BIG Diamondback and gets BIT!!! ( Diamondback Watersnake)
(Cole & Jay)
3. Poisonous copperhead snake found at a river in Kansas!!
(Reptile Realm)
4. Around Kansas - Coachwhip Snakes June 13,2018
(Farming Unlimited TV)
5. How DANGEROUS is a WATER MOCASSIN / COTTONMOUTH
(Quick Catch)
6. Snake Bites on the Rise in the Metro and Across Kansas
(The University of Kansas Health System)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated: 12/25/2022

Views: 6355

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.