Discover Nature: Baby Snakes

Oct 4, 2016

The prairie kingsnake lives in native prairies, along the edges of crop fields, hay fields, old fields, or wood lots, on rocky, wooded hillsides, and near farm buildings. It takes shelter under logs, rocks, boards, or similar objects, or utilizes small mammal burrows.
Credit Missouri Department of Conservation

When people find baby snakes around their homes, they wonder, "Where did it come from? Is it poisonous? Will we find more?"

During late August, September and early October, young snakes are moving around, looking for hiding places, food or spots to hole up for the winter.  The majority of baby snakes people find are newly-hatched prairie kingsnakes, water snakes and black rat snakes, which most people call "black snakes."

 


Black rat snakes and prairie kingsnakes hatch from eggs during late summer.  Baby water snakes are born live around the same time.  All of these snakes look somewhat alike:  they are gray, tan or cream with numerous dark crossbands along the length of their bodies.

Most people won't fall in love with snakes even baby snakes, but it is possible to appreciate the role they play in nature. Most snakes found around homes are not only harmless; they're beneficial.  Many eat mice.  Often these young, snakes are misidentified as copperheads and needlessly killed.  The kingsnakes eat other snakes.  Learning to identify common snakes and their young can help protect these valuable animals.

Snakes don't need much from us humans, just a little tolerance.

Learn more about prairie kingsnakes online with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.