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10 Types of Brown Snakes in Texas (Pictures)

This state is home to many different types of snakes, and among them are many types of brown snakes in Texas. These reptiles can be found in various habitats across the state and play an essential role in the ecosystem.

Although most are not typically aggressive, some of these snakes can deliver a painful bite if they feel threatened. Some of these species even have venom, though it’s rarely fatal to humans. However, it can cause serious health complications if not treated quickly.

For these reasons it’s crucial to be aware of the presence of the various types of snakes, many of which are brown, and to take precautions when spending time outdoors.

Brown snakes in Texas

10 Brown Snakes in Texas

Some of the snakes on this list are brown, others are only partially brown. While others still are only brown at certain stages of life. Nonetheless, enjoy this list of brown snakes in Texas.

1. Texas Garter Snake

Texas garter snake
Texas garter snake | image by Dawson at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.5

Scientific name: Thamnophis sirtalis annectens

The Texas garter snake is a common type of brown snake that is found in central Texas. These snakes typically grow between three and five feet in length, brown or black in color, with yellow stripes running down their sides. They also have a thin red stripe running down the length of their body.

Texas garter snakes are non-venomous and prefer to eat small mammals, frogs, and insects. They like living in wet sandy habitats or areas with lots of greenery. In Texas, you’ll find the garter snake near the coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico.

2. Bullsnake

bull snake slithering
Bullsnake | image by Mike Lewinski via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Pituophis catenifer sayi

The Bullsnake is a giant, nonvenomous snake found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. You will likely find it throughout the state of Texas except in the extreme western Trans-Pecos and extreme east. It’s a member of the gopher snake group, which includes some of the largest snakes in North America.

The Bullsnake is brown or tan with dark brown or black blotches along its body. It can grow to be over 8 feet long, making it one of the largest snakes in Texas.

The Bullsnake is a constrictor, meaning it squeezes its prey to death. It feeds on small mammals such as pocket gophers, mice, rats, and rabbits.

It’s also known to eat lizards, other snakes, ground-nesting birds, and birds’ eggs. The bullsnake is not considered endangered, but it’s protected in some states where it lives.

3. Rattlesnakes

Timber rattlesnake
Timber rattlesnake | image by Peter Paplanus via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Crotalus

Rattlesnakes are one of the most feared creatures in North America. And with good reason: they’re venomous, their bites can be painful, and they can grow to be 6.6 feet long, with some growing up to 8.2 feet.

Their name comes from the rattle at the end of their tail, which they use to warn predators. The sound is produced by shaking their tail back and forth, causing the segments of their rattle to strike each other.

You can find rattlesnakes at the extreme western tip of Texas near the Pecos River. They nest in various habitats, including deserts, grasslands, swamps, forests, and scrub bushes. They come in multiple colors: tan, green, brown, black, gray, dull red, and white.

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4. Broad-Banded Copperhead

Broad-banded copperhead
Broad-banded copperhead | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Agkistrodon laticinctus

The broad-banded copperhead is a venomous snake found in the eastern third of Texas. It’s a member of the viper family related to the rattlesnake.

The broad-banded copperhead is brown or tan in color with dark brown bands across its body. It has a triangular-shaped head and can grow up to 2-3 feet in length.

These snakes have excellent camouflage and are often found in wooded areas in the wild. They are also known to live in urban areas and can be found in gardens, sheds, and garages.

Broad-banded copperheads are not aggressive snakes but will bite if they feel threatened. If this snake bites you, seek medical attention immediately.

5. Western Cottonmouth

Western cottonmouth
Western cottonmouth | image by Peter Paplanu via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma

Also known as water moccasins, the western cottonmouth is a venomous brown, black, or dark olive green snake. It’s an aquatic snake that stays near or in water bodies such as rivers, lakes, or coastal areas. You’ll likely find them in Eastern Texas, from the Edwards Plateau to the Gulf Coast in South Texas.

The best way to identify these snakes is to look at their mouths. They often have a patch of white color on the sides of their jaws or under their chin. They have an arrow-shaped triangle head with pits under their eyes.

When threatened, western cottonmouth snakes will open their jaws to expose their white mouth lining as a warning- hence their name “western cottonmouth.”

6. Smooth Earth Snake

Smooth earth snake
Smooth earth snake | image by Don F Becker via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific name: Virginia valeriae

The smooth earth snake is quite heavy-bodied, despite its small size- 7- 10 inches. They are brown or gray with a pinkish or reddish-brown belly and a pointed snout for digging with smooth scales.

It’s a secretive, non-venomous snake that spends most of its time underground in rodent burrows. You’ll also find smooth earth snakes hiding under leaf litter, logs, and other debris.

They often eat soft-bodied insects such as earthworms. Smooth earth snakes are viviparous. This means that they bear live young ones instead of laying eggs. They can give birth to up to 14 young babies in late summer.

7. Salt Marsh Snake

Salt marsh snake slithering
Salt marsh snake slithering | image by Ashley Wahlberg (Tubbs) via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Nerodia clarkii

Salt marsh snakes are heavily keeled, lean water snakes that grow up to 2 feet in length. They are pale olive with numerous brown stripes that break into spots running down their backs.

These snakes are mainly found in estuarine habitats, mangroves, tidal marshes, mud flats, and other coastal habitats. They are colubrid, non-venomous snakes often found in salty marshes of the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Florida.

Their diet consists of shrimp, fish, and crayfish. They give birth to live young ones and do not lay eggs.

8. Texas Lyre Snake

Texas lyre snake
Texas lyre snake | image by Ashley Wahlberg (Tubbs) via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Trimorphodon biscutatus vilkinsonii

The Texas lyre snakes, also known as Trimorph, are rear-fanged and harmless snakes often found in the Trans-Pecos region in Texas. It’s related to the act-eyed snake and can grow up to 39 inches in length in adulthood.

The Texas lyre snakes are tan, brown, or gray, with 17-24 brown spots all over their backs. Although they’re considered mildly venomous, the Texas Lyre snakes aren’t harmful to humans.

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They’re nocturnal snakes, spending most of their time secretly hiding away in rock crannies, only emerging to eat. Their diet consists of frogs, birds, bats, and small rodents.

9. Texas Patchnose Snake

Texas patchnose snake
Texas patchnose snake | image by Dawson via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.5

Scientific name: Salvadora grahamiae lineata

The Texas patched snake, also known as Salvadora, is a colubrid snake endemic to Mexico and the Western United States. You can find this snake in numerous South and Central Texas habitats, ranging from the Tamaulipan thorn scrubs to the Juniper-oaks savannahs.

Just like other members of its species, this snake features an enlarged nose tip scale, with its lateral and dorsal colors varying from grayish to brown. It also has dark brown bordering stripes on both sides.

Texas patchnose snakes are active during the day, and you’ll often see them moving around on dirt roads. They are very wary of predators and usually hurry on their daily incursions in search of food.

If threatened, these animals often take an S-coiled striking position, vibrating their tails rapidly to give the attacker a false sense of their size. This helps them appear more dangerous than they are.

Their diet includes other reptiles’ eggs, lizards, and other young rodents, which they sniff out, thanks to their heightened sensory system.

10. Texas Night Snake

Texas night snake
Texas night snake | image by Dawson via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.5

Scientific name: Hypsiglena jani

Also known as the Chihuahuan night snake, the Texas night snake is a tan, light brown, or light gray snake with beautiful dark brown spots down its back and an unmarked underside.

The Texas night snake spends most of its time hiding under logs and rocks, only coming out to hunt at night. You can often see it slithering hurriedly on warm nights, especially during heavy rainfall. It’s often found in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico.

The Texas night snake is a tiny snake that may reach 16 inches in length and rarely reaches 24. Thanks to its average-looking color scheme, this snake can camouflage on the ground to blend in and avoid predators.