Snakes of Columbus, OH

Columbus snake

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

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

Common Snake Species in Columbus

Columbus snake Common Watersnake:
As their name suggests, common watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon) are found near or close to water. In particular, you’ll find them lurking in muskrat houses or beaver lodges, amongst the sticks and logs. Harmless to humans, the snakes are non-venomous. They have a dark banding pattern on a dark tan background. Growing from 24 to 42 inches; as adults, they can also be reasonably weighty. Although not dangerous to humans, if attacked or provoked it will defend itself ferociously, biting repeatedly. So, best to leave it alone.

Columbus snake Black Rat Snakes:
Black rat snakes (Pantherophis obsoletus) are a common snake in Ohio. Showing a preference for forest areas, they are remarkable climbers as well as capable swimmers. Unlike other snakes on this list, they can grow quite large: up to 3 to 6 ft. in length. The largest recorded was in Canada, measuring over 8 ft. Their diet is varied, ranging from squirrels and voles to birds and venomous snakes. In fact, they’re regarded as useful for keeping the snake population low. However, in turn, they are also the prey of many species. As a defense mechanism, they release a foul-smelling musk if picked up.

Columbus snake Queen Snake:
At first look, they can be mistaken for a garter snake. But upon closer inspection, queen snakes (Regina septemvittata) are olive to black in color, with stripes of pale scales down their sides. There are also three dark stripes on the back, although these can be hard to spot. On their underside, there are also distinctive pale and dark stripes. Queen snakes are always found near clean running streams. Therefore, their diet is mostly composed of crayfish. But they will also eat frogs, tadpoles, snails, and more. They are non-venomous and pose no threat to humans.

Columbus snake Northern Ring-Necked Snake:
Easily identified by their dark backs and bright, fluorescent underbelly and neck ring, the northern ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus) is not majorly venomous. As such, they pose some threat to humans but are mainly non-aggressive. Like many other snakes on this list, they prefer forested areas, with shallow soil and surface bedrock. Found lurking under rocks, logs, and bark they eat worms, slugs, and salamanders, primarily. They are tiny in length, reaching a maximum of 18 inches. Therefore, they are of little threat to humans, and some can even be handled. However, this is not advised in the wild.

Venomous Snake Species in Columbus

Columbus snake Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake:
Found throughout the central states of the US, from Mexico to the Great Lakes, the venomous massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is one to be avoided. Typically, they stay away from humans, with most recorded bites being due to handling or accidentally stepping on them. They grow around 24 to 30 inches in length. Their bodies are patterned with dark brown blotches ringed in black. Often found near water, such as along rivers and lakes, as well as marshland and wet prairies. They are ambush predators, sitting and waiting for prey to pass by. As pit vipers, they have indentations between their eyes for sensing prey. They will then strike quickly and decisively.

Columbus snake Timber Rattlesnake:
Timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) also known as the American viper, are a formidable predator. Capable of climbing trees up to 80 feet in height, they thrive in forests and rugged terrain. As such, they’re found throughout the Appalachian region up to the Great Lakes. They are the most northerly venomous snake in the US and use their venom both to hunt and defensively. The venom itself is hemorrhagic, causing excessive bleeding. So, lookout for a tan brown snake with jagged black banding. They hunt small mammals, birds, and other snakes, particularly the garter snake.

If you're unsure, you can email me a photo of the snake at and I will email you back with the snake's species. If you found a snake skin, read my Found a Skin? page, and you can email me a photo of the skin, and I'll identify the snake for you. If you need professional Columbus snake removal help, click my Get Help page, or see the below website sponsor I found, who provides that service.

Will A Snake Have A Nest Of Babies Under A Shed Or Porch?

Do Snakes Have Babies Under Sheds or Porches?
When a snake finds its way under your shed or porch, there are going to be several concerns facing you. You have to think about its immediate dangers, of course, but you also have to think about the future. Snakes, like any living creature, will have babies at some point. If a snake is living anywhere on your property, you have to wonder whether it will have babies there. No one wants wild animals to have nests and babies on their property, obviously. It is a risk to you, your property, and any children or pets you may have. It is a situation no one wants to be in. Knowing the risks can help you better manage the situation and find solutions to the problem.

Snake Nests
Snakes like to make nests in areas where they feel safe and comfortable. This is true of all mothers of all species. They want a place they know they can safely give birth and raise their young, free of predators. The area under your shed or porch is perfect for that. It is a secluded area where most predators are not going to go. It is cool, it has shelter, and it gives them peace for their young. It is perfect for them. Yes, you can expect snakes to have young under your shed or porch. There is no doubt that they will go there if they want to have a safe place to give birth. They need a place like that for their young. If you see a snake around your property, and know it is living under the porch or shed, you have to realize that there is a risk of it giving birth there. If it appears pregnant, there is a near definite chance of this.

What You Can Do
In this situation, you will want to try to remove the snake if you can. Removing and relocating them yourself, though, is not a smart choice. Snakes, like any animal, are a dangerous beast when pregnant or protecting their young. On top of that, you may put the snake or its babies at risk by attempting to remove them yourself. Contact a professional to do this for you. They can come in and remove the snake safely, as well as any babies the snake may have. Snakes will have a nest anywhere they deem safe, including under your shed or porch. You have to take steps to remove them and keep them out if you want to stop this.

Remember, the term is not poisonous snakes of Columbus, it's venomous snakes of Columbus. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Columbus. The few venomous snakes of Franklin County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Columbus in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Grove City, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Worthington, Gahanna, Groveport, Bexley, Obetz, Grandview Heights, Whitehall, Lockbourne, Marble Cliff, Urbancrest, Minerva Park, Valleyview, Brice, Lincoln Village, Riverlea, Darbydale, Blacklick Estates, Huber Ridge, Lake Darby, New Rome and the surrounding areas.

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