All snakes simply wish to be left alone, free to play their important role in the ecosystem. California and Washington, known for their diverse landscapes and wildlife, are home to a multitude of snake species. Seven of these common snakes in California are especially renowned for their beauty. The most common California snakes, ranging from the strikingly banded Kingsnake to the vibrant Garter Snake, capture the attention of nature enthusiasts and herpetologists alike. Do you know which type of snake can kill you?

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California Snakes: Deadly Dangers and Essential Safety Precautions

It is crucial to remember that some of these serpents carry a potentially lethal bite, despite their mesmerizing allure. As we embark on this exploration of California's common snakes, we will also unveil the ones that pose a serious threat to humans, ensuring that your admiration of these creatures comes with an essential dose of caution and respect.

Gopher Snake via YouTube
Gopher Snake via YouTube

7 Beautiful Common Snakes in California

1. Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)

These are the largest and most common snakes in California. They are non-venomous constrictors and are often mistaken for rattlesnakes due to their similar coloration and tendency to mimic rattling sounds when threatened.

2. Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)

This is a venomous snake that is common in California. This snake can be deadly. There are several subspecies including the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (pictured), and the Southern Pacific Rattlesnake.

3. California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)

These are non-venomous snakes that are often kept as pets due to their easy-going nature. They have a striking pattern of black and white bands.

RELATED: Washington State's 12 Species of Snakes: See The One That Can Kill You!

4. Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

These are small, harmless snakes that come in a variety of colors and patterns. They are named for their resemblance to the decorative garters used to hold up stockings.

5. Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)

This is a small, non-venomous snake known for its distinctive coloration: a yellow or orange ring around the neck and a brightly colored underside.

6. Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia tenuis)

This is a small, non-venomous snake that is often found under rocks or logs. It has a sharp, pointed tail, hence the name.

7. Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor Mormon)

Despite the name, this snake is a non-venomous constrictor. It is known for its speed and its smooth, greenish-yellow, or blue-gray body with a yellow belly.

Always remember, if you encounter a snake in the wild, especially a rattlesnake, it is important to keep your distance and not attempt to handle it. 

7 Beautiful Common Snakes in California

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