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Are There Water Snakes in Wyoming? 

When you think of Wyoming, you probably envision wide open spaces, snow-capped mountains, and breathtaking scenery. Besides that, it’s also home to amazing wildlife in addition to its lovely habitats. And if you’re curious about water snakes in Wyoming, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a closer look at these snakes and where you can find them in the state.

Are there water snakes in Wyoming?

Wyoming has no true water snakes of the genus Nerodia. The majority of the species in this genus are found on the east coast of the United States, and Wyoming is already on the west side. It‘s also a dry state, which means there are few bodies of water in Wyoming, making it difficult for aquatic wildlife, such as water snakes, to thrive.

Semi-aquatic snakes in Wyoming

Despite the fact that Wyoming has no true water snakes, there are some species that are known to be semi-aquatic snakes. These are the snake species that are commonly found in habitats near water sources.

1. Valley garter snake

Valley garter snake
Valley garter snake | image by LassenNPS via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi
  • Length: 18-55 inches
  • Venomous: No

Despite being relatively uncommon, Valley garter snakes are among Wyoming’s non-venomous snakes. They can be found in various habitats, but they prefer areas near water sources.

These snakes range in length from 18 to 55 inches, with a brown to black background and three yellow stripes on their backs and sides. There are also distinct red bars on their sides, in between their yellow stripes. These animals eat frogs, toads, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates found in their natural habitats.

2. Red-bellied snake

Red-bellied snake on log
Red-bellied snake on log
  • Scientific Name: Storeria occipitomaculata
  • Length: 8 to 10 inches
  • Venomous: Yes

The red-bellied snake is a common snake found in Wyoming. They’re actually small snakes, measuring only 8 to 15 inches long and having a stocky build. Their body color ranges from gray to reddish brown, with stripes on their back. red-bellied snakes also have a light collar around their necks and bright red bellies, which inspired their names.

These snakes can be found in moist woodland areas, particularly under flat rocks and logs. They primarily feed on gastropods, where they use their weak venoms to paralyze their prey while also reducing mucous secretions.

3. Wandering garter snake

Wandering garter snake hissing
Wandering garter snake hissing | image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis elegans vagrans
  • Length: 30 to 36 inches
  • Venomous: No

The wandering garter snake is a subspecies of the common garter snake found in the western United States, including Wyoming. These snakes can be tan, brownish-green, or olive in color, with yellow or cream stripes and dark blotches or markings on their sides. They can be found in almost all habitats in Wyoming, particularly near water sources, but not in the alpine.

In warm weather, these animals are active during the day and primarily hunt for fish, frogs, worms, slugs, and other invertebrates. During the winter, they can be found in animal burrows with other snake species, where they overwinter to survive the cold weather.

4. Rubber boa

Rubber boa
Rubber boa | image by andrewnydam via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Scientific Name: Charina bottae
  • Length: 21 to 26 inches
  • Venomous: No

The rubber boa is a small, thick snake that lives in Wyoming. They’re typically found in forested foothills and lower montane zones, near water and beneath logs.

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Their upper parts are tan to dark brown, with a lighter hue on their underparts. Rubber boas are nonvenomous snakes that are known to be very gentle and don’t bite.

However, they’ll bite or attack if they feel threatened or cornered, just like any other wild animal. Rubber boas are also constrictors, which means that they hunt and kill their prey by wrapping around it and suffocating it until it dies.

5. Red-sided garter snake

Red-sided garter snake
Red-sided garter snake | image by Greg Schechter via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis
  • Length: 24 to 30 inches
  • Venomous: No

A red-sided garter snake is a small, thin snake found in Wyoming. They’re the same color as other garter snakes, which are dark with three yellow stripes, but they also have red bars between their stripes. Red-sided garter snakes prefer to live near water and are most commonly found in plains, foothills, and montane zones.

Since these garter snakes are one of North America’s most northernly distributed reptiles, they’re already adapted to Wyoming’s cool climate. In addition, they’re among the first snakes to emerge in the spring. The red-sided garter snake is also a shy reptile that’ll strike only if provoked.


Are there venomous water snakes in Wyoming?

There are no venomous water snakes in Wyoming. This state is home to only two venomous snakes: the prairie rattlesnake and the midget faded rattlesnake. They both live in dry areas such as rocky cliffs, grasslands, and prairies and don’t live in bodies of water.

How many snake species are there in Wyoming?

Wyoming is home to a variety of snakes. There are 15 species in total, with only two being venomous. In addition, there are no true water snakes in this state.

While many people are afraid of snakes, they can be beneficial to the ecosystem by controlling rodents, lizards, and other pests.