Snakes of Albany, NY

Albany snake

Welcome to! I am David, a snake enthusiast living in Albany, NY. Many people don't know that Albany is in fact full of snakes! You just need to know where to find them - they can often be shy and elusive. Some New York snake species are more common outside of the city limits, in different parts of Albany County NY, but many types of snakes are indeed common in the more urban parts of Albany. This guide is meant to help educate you about the beautiful snakes of Albany, and to help you identify the most common snakes of Albany, as well as the venomous snakes of Albany that you should learn to recognize and avoid. Remember the following:

  • Most snakes of Albany are harmless and don't want to encounter you
  • Venomous snakes exist but are uncommon in Albany, New York
  • Snakes eat rats and mice and are a valuable part of the New York ecosystem
  • Never kill a snake - if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone.

Common Snake Species in Albany

Albany snake Common garter snakes: Garter snakes are found throughout New York state, and they are the most common snakes in the state. Although they have varied colors, these snakes are easily recognized due to their slender striped bodies, and they appear in many different habitats; fields, woodlands, lawns, gardens, forests, wetlands, etc. Garter snakes are mostly green or brown with three yellow stripes down the length of their backs, and they usually grow to about 30 inches.

Albany snake Eastern ribbon snake: This is a type of garter snake also found in many habitats in New York. It’s much slimmer than the garter snakes with brighter yellow stripes along its back down the slender tail. Ribbon snakes will measure from 15 to 36 inches and you can find them in wet woodlands, marshy areas, lakes, and streams. They are great swimmers and feed mainly on amphibians. Ribbon snakes are harmless but will secrete a foul-smelling substance when handled.

Albany snake Smooth green snakes: Adult smooth green snakes have smooth leaf-colored bodies and yellowish-white underbellies, while juveniles are either olive-green or gray. These snakes are found throughout the state mainly on grasslands which provide them with perfect cover, on average these snakes measure from 12 to 20 inches.

Albany snake Eastern milk snake: These gray to tan colored snakes with large dark brown blotches are found throughout the state of New York. These snakes usually measure from 24 to 48 inches and hunt down rodents, amphibians, and birds at night. The eastern milk snake will strike when cornered, but they are not poisonous and are harmless to humans.

Albany snake Black rat snake: They are large non-venomous snakes with black or brown scales and light-colored bellies. These snakes are mainly found on farmlands, woodlands, fields, and around buildings, and they can be as long as 42 to 84 inches. They feed mostly on rodents, birds, and amphibians.

Albany snake Red-bellied snake: These snakes can be gray, black, rusty red, or different shades of brown with pale stripes down their backs, and bright yellow to orange bellies. They are majorly found in logs, leaf piles, and under rocks where they hide away feeding almost exclusively on slugs. The length of these snakes will range from 8 to 18 inches

Albany snake Dekay’s brown snake: This is a small brown uninteresting snake with 2 rows of dark spots. They are mostly brown, but there are Dekay’s brown snakes with grayish-brown, yellow, or somewhat reddish bodies. These snakes are harmless and only feed on slugs and earthworms, the total length ranges from 6 to 13 inches.

Albany snake Common water snake: The common water snake is a heavy-bodied pale brown or gray reptile with dark bands along its back. These snakes can measure from 24 to 55 inches and they are mostly found in water bodies. Common water snakes are sometimes mistaken as the venomous cottonmouth but they are not venomous although they will bite when they feel threatened.

Albany snake Ring-necked snake: These are small black reptiles with a narrow yellowish-orange band around their necks. These snakes are nocturnal hunters and feed on earthworms, insects, amphibians, and other small snakes. They are not venomous and are harmless to humans.

Venomous Snake Species in Albany

Albany snake Northern copperhead: This is the least venomous snake in the pit viper family of snakes. Copperheads have a tan or gray base color with reddish-brown blotches and patterns on their bodies. In New York state, these snakes are found only in the Hudson Valley area, and on average they measure between 24 and 36 inches.

Albany snake Timber rattlesnake: These are venomous and potentially dangerous snakes. These rattlesnakes are either pale yellow or black with dark blotches along their bodies and a diamond-shaped head. They prefer to stay away from humans but will rattle and strike when cornered and each strike is potentially deadly.

Remember, the term is not poisonous snakes of Albany, it's venomous snakes of Albany. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Albany. The few venomous snakes of Albany County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Albany in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Alpharetta, South Fulton, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Fairburn, East Point, Milton, Union City, Hapeville, Chattahoochee Hills, and the surrounding areas.

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