New Hampshire snakes number in the one dozen mirroring the New England reputation for less snake diversity. The cold climate makes for an inhospitable habitat for all but the hardiest of snakes.
The snakes presented here share the characteristic of being relatively small snakes that can bury themselves beneath the frozen soil for the winter.
All New Hampshire snakes however, do not share similar population levels. According to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department:
Five of the 11 species (i.e., timber rattlesnake, eastern hognose snake, northern black racer, smooth green snake, and ribbon snake) were identified as species in greatest need of conservation..
Most reports on snakes initially or eventually get to the topic of venomous snakes. Rightfully so. Any snake that causes potential harm to humans needs to be addressed for safety reasons.
Only one venomous snake, the Timber Rattlesnake lives in New Hampshire. Despite the initial fears, it’s very rare and listed as a “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” in the state. Current populations are only registered in one eastern county and a handful of western counties.
Please press the snake button for more pictures and information about venomous snakes and other snakes in general.
The remainder of New Hampshire snakes belong to a family of snakes whose names are easily recognized such as Garter Snakes.
Ribbon snakes refers to a group of snakes in the genus Thamnophis, differentiated by the presence of longer tails and a light patch in front of the eye. Eastern Ribbon Snakes (Thamnophis sauritus) share those same physical features.
The Eastern Ribbon Snake has a distinct pattern on the body as well as the common stripes.
Common Garter Snakes are also the most common of New Hampshire snakes. They tend to be have more earthy colors, typically brown bodies and yellow stripes.
Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes
Eastern Milk Snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum) add a touch of color to the New Hampshire snakes portfolio.
Milksnakes commonly get presented as adaptable snakes as residents who discover them in their yard can quickly understand. They do inhabit multiples areas from fields to forests to farms.
Racers and Whipsnakes
Black Racer (Coluber constrictor) is the general name for one of the most widespread of all the snakes native to the United States.
In fact eleven different subspecies inhabit almost every state in the lower 48 states. Color is a common name applied to many of the species as well as the Black Racer. Blue Racers, for example are common around the Great Lakes region.
The snakes best known as Black racers inhabit most areas in the East from southern Maine to the Florida Keys. They are long, thin snakes with a black body, and as the picture highlights, white chins.
All Hognose snake species are characterized as having thick bodies that can grow to four feet in length. Eastern Hognose snakes (Heterodon platirhinos) can assume a variety of colors and are the most wide ranging of species.
The Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) is the only species in the state. Specimens such as the one in the picture with a dark and bulky body, are farly easy to identify in their territory.
New Hampshire Colubrid Snakes
Smooth Greensnakes (Opheodrys vernalis) vernalis) also go by the name grass snakes because their grass green bodies provide great camouflage in their preferred habitat, green grass.
They are insectivores who consume a good deal of grasshoppers and other troublesome insects that live in the grasslands of southern New Hampshire. Encouraging these snakes into the yard as part of a natural pest control regimen is as easy as omitting the use of pesticides on the lawn.
The Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus) found in most areas of New Hampshire.
The dual color body, dark on the top and a bright shade of orange or yellow on the bottom serve as the best field identification clues. The picture highlights the snake’s characteristic ring neck mark. While ring-neck snake bites are rare, touching them is not recommended. They can secrete a foul smelling chemical.
Brownsnakes are small and common across tee state.
Red-bellied snakes live mostly in wooded areas. With the exception of the northern most tip of the state, Red-bellied snakes have been recorded in most New Hampshire counties.