Florida Snakes Visual Identification
Different species of snake can often be distinguished by their characteristic color patterns. Some are single uniform colors. Others have dark or light markings organized into stripes, spots, blotches or some other pattern. Here is a quick look at most of Florida's snakes by pattern:
Crossbands are bands of color extending across the back and down the sides, but do not cross the belly. The belly frequently is a lighter contrasting color.
Rings are bands of color that extend across the back, down the sides and across the belly to completely encircle the body. Also, because they are similar, we have a simple guide to compare the Eastern Coral Snake, Scarlet Kingsnake, and Scarlet Snake.
Stripes are narrow lines of color that run lengthwise down the snake's body. They may be only one scale wide or may be several scales wide.
Uniform colors are solid colors, black, brown, tan, orange, yellow, gray, blue or green, without any markings. On some species the color may be darker on the head and neck and become lighter on the back part of the body. Some may appear uniform in color in some light and at some angles. We've included snakes here that often appear uniform in color initially.
Blotches are large squarish or irregular shaped markings, frequently with dark borders. Large rectangular blotches that cross the back resemble crossbands.
Diamonds are slightly overlapping diamond-shaped blotches running down the middle of the back. They usually have dark borders or dark and light borders.