There are 27 different species of snakes in Maryland, 25 of which are non-venomous and 2 that are venomous. Some of the snake species listed below only inhabit one or two counties in Maryland and others can be found throughout the state.
The snake species found throughout the state of Maryland are:
- Non-venomous: Black Rat Snake, Eastern Garter Snake, Northern Water Snake, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Northern Black Racer Snake, Common Ribbon Snake, Red-bellied Water Snake, Queen Snake, Eastern Smooth Earth Snake, Northern Brown Snake, Northern Red-bellied Snake, Northern Ring-necked Snake, Southern Ring-necked Snake, Eastern Worm Snake, Smooth Green Snake, Northern Rough Green Snake, Southern Pine Snake, Red Corn Snake, Mole King Snake, Eastern King Snake, Eastern Milk Snake, Coastal Plain Milk Snake, Northern Scarlet Snake
- Non-venomous endangered: Mountain Earth Snake (unique to the Western Garrett County) and Rainbow Snake (found in Charles County and along the Potomac River)
- Venomous: Northern Copperhead and Timber Rattlesnake
Reproduction and Mating Habits
Some of the snake species that inhabit Maryland lay eggs and others give live birth. The female Eastern Rat Snake lays 6 to 24 eggs in mid to late July. The Eastern Garter Snake gives live birth to between 10 and 30 young from July through August. Both types of snakes usually lay eggs or give birth in secluded areas like burrows that are abandoned by other animals or in wood piles, the base of hollow trees and leaf litter.
Most of the snake species in Maryland have the same mating habits and use the same mating techniques. Males will emit pheromones around their territory to attract females for mating and will mate with several different females during the same breeding period. Once the mating is over, the fertilization and incubation begin. Most females have a gestation period of two to three months before they lay eggs or before giving birth.
The type of foods that a snake eats depends on the environment that snake species inhabits. The Red Bellied Water Snake and the Northern Water Snake feed on frogs, fish and other aquatic species. The Eastern Rat Snake and the Northern Black Racer feed on mice, small rats, bird eggs, birds, and other small mammals. Some of the smaller snake species such as the Eastern Garter Snake feed on earthworms, salamanders, slugs, insects, lizards, small fish and some insects.
Copperhead is the most common venomous snake that inhabits Maryland. They are found in fields, forests, swamps, rocky outcrops and agricultural fields that border forest. Home owners encounter these snakes in piles of firewood, fallen leaves, under decks, in flowerbeds, under swimming pool platforms, and under or around landscaping rocks.
Here is how to tell if you are dealing with a Copperhead: