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ways to reduce wildlife-human conflict and avoid wildlife damage.
Wisconsin's rare plants, animals and natural communities.
about wildlife health and rehabilitation.
Contact information
For more information, contact:
Rori Paloski

Snakes of Wisconsin

Snakes play very important roles in many natural communities as predator and prey. They are extremely valuable to the agricultural community by keeping grain eating mammals in check. Recent studies suggest that snakes are also valuable in reducing disease threats posed by high rodent populations. Many snake populations have declined in Wisconsin due to habitat loss and human persecution. Even today, people who do not understand or appreciate their value continue to needlessly kill them. Of Wisconsin's 21 species, 14 are considered "rare" and listed as endangered, threatened or special concern.

Rattlesnakes and Rattlesnake Mimics

There are two species of rattlesnakes in Wisconsin (timber rattlesnake and eastern massasauga) although both species, especially the eastern massasauga, are very rare. But there are many non-venomous snake species that often mimic rattlesnakes. These mimics vibrate their tails when they feel threatened. The sound of their tail “rattling” against vegetation, gravel or dry leaves sounds almost identical to a rattlesnake. If you believe you may have seen a rattlesnake in Wisconsin, please look over our rattlesnake mimic publication [PDF] for identification tips.

Wisconsin Snake Species

Common Name Scientific Name Family Status
Butler's Gartersnake Thamnophis butleri Colubridae Special Concern
Common Gartersnake Thamnophis sirtalis Colubridae Common
Common Watersnake Nerodia sipedon Colubridae Common
DeKay's brownsnake Storeria dekayi Colubridae Common
Eastern Foxsnake (Pine) Pantherophis vulpinus Colubridae Common
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake Heterodon platirhinos Colubridae Common
Eastern Massasauga Sistrurus catenatus Viperidae Endangered
Eastern Ribbonsnake Thamnophis sauritus Colubridae Endangered
Gophersnake (Bullsnake) Pituophis catenifer Colubridae Special Concern
Gray (Black) Ratsnake Pantherophis spiloides Colubridae Special Concern
Lined Snake Tropidoclonion lineatum Colubridae Special Concern
Milksnake Lampropeltis triangulum Colubridae Common
North American (Blue) Racer Coluber constrictor Colubridae Special concern
Northern Ring-necked Snake Diadophis punctatus edwardsii Colubridae Common
Plains Gartersnake Thamnophis radix Colubridae Special Concern
Prairie Ring-necked Snake Diadophis punctatus arnyi Colubridae Special Concern
Queensnake Regina septemvittata Colubridae Endangered
Red-bellied Snake Storeria occipitomaculata Colubridae Common
Smooth Greensnake Opheodrys vernalis Colubridae Common
Timber Rattlesnake Crotalus horridus Viperidae Special Concern
Western Ribbonsnake Thamnophis proximus Colubridae Endangered
Western Wormsnake Carphophis vermis Colubridae Special Concern
Last revised: Tuesday, December 22, 2020