Great Plains Rat Snake

Pantherophis emoryi

The Great Plains Rat Snake is a nonvenomous snake found in the? south-central part of the United States and northern Mexico. They are nocturnal, and feed mostly on rodents which they subdue through constriction. They can grow up to 5ft long. They can be temperamental and when confronted may run away, vibrate their tail, strike, or hiss.? When they vibrate their tail against leaf litter they sound exactly like a rattlesnake, which is an effective deterrent against predators. They have excellent camouflage that breaks up their outline making them very difficult to spot. Snakes in general are an essential part of the ecosystem; they help keep the rodent population in check and the food web balanced. Respect them and they will respect you!

Rat Snake

Bull Snake

Pituophis catenifer sayi

Bull Snakes are nonvenomous and can be found throughout the central United States, northern Mexico, and western Canada. Bull snakes average about 6 feet in length which makes them one of the largest US snakes. They eat small mammals, ground nesting birds, and lizards. Due to its coloration, and dorsal pattern it superficially resembles the Western Diamondback Rattler. The bull snake capitalizes on this similarity by performing a very realistic rattlesnake impression when threatened. It hisses, produces a rattle sound, and vibrates its tail. These defensive behaviors are meant to scare away threats, however, not sound an attack.

Bull Snake

Desert Kingsnake

Lampropeltis getulus splendida

Desert Kingsnakes are nonvenomous. However, when confronted by a predator some will put on a valiant defensive display by drawing its neck into an s-curve, vibrating its tail tip, and striking open-mouthed. However, most individuals will either attempt to escape, defecate, and/or emit a foul smelling musk when frightened. They grow to approximately 3 to 4 feet in length, the record is 5 feet. They eat snakes (which is why they are called kingsnakes), including young rattlesnakes. They are able to eat rattlesnakes due to the fact they are resistant to their venom. Some ranchers breed them as a way to reduce the venomous snake population on their property. They also eat lizards and small mammals. The females lay eggs in late June and July, and the baby snakes are about 10 inches long.

Desert Kingsnake

Grey-Banded Kingsnake

Lampropeltis alterna?

Grey-Banded King Snakes are reclusive, nocturnal creatures that are rarely seen in the wild. They have a calm disposition and rarely bite. They are a small snake and average around 32 inches in length (about 2 1/2 feet). They feed primarily on rodents, and lizards and are the only non-snake-eating member of the kingsnake family. They are egg bearing snakes and lay 3-13 eggs between late May and July, when the eggs hatch the young are 9-12 inches long. Every Grey-Banded Kingsnake has unique coloring, which usually consists of grey and orange color variations.

Grey Banded Kingsnake

Ground Snake

Sonora semiannulata

Ground snakes are found throughout the Southern United States. They are non-venomous and very docile. They can grow up to 10 to 15 inches in length. Their colors and patterns can vary widely. They can be brown, red, orange with black banding, orange with brown striping, or they can be solid-colored. Their underside is typically white or grey.? Their preferred habitat is dry, rocky areas with loose soil. Ground snakes are typically?nocturnal and secretive. Their diet consists primarily of?invertebrates, such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes, crickets, and insect larvae.

Ground Snake

Mexican Milk Snake

Lampropeltis triangulum annulata

The Mexican Milk snake has a striking resemblance to coral snakes and this mimicry likely scares away potential predators. They have a docile nature, and would much rather slither away than attack. They grow to approximately 30?inches (2 1/2 feet) in length. They are not venomous, contrary to the coral snake. Distinguishing between the two, therefore, is often taught with the mnemonic device ?Red and black friend of jack, red and yellow kill a fellow?.? Young milk snakes typically eat slugs, insects, and earthworms. The adults diet? includes lizards (especially skinks), and small mammals. An early myth about milk snakes is that they suck cow udders and drink their milk, this myth is not true. Milk snakes are, however, frequently found in and around barns, making use of their cool and dark environments, and for the easily accessed populations of rodents to feed on.

Mexican Milksnake

Corn Snakes

Elaphe guttata

The Corn Snakes are found in a variety of habitats from prairies to forests, its also found in corn fields which is how it got its name. Since corn attracts rodents, which is the corn snakes favorite food, its an ideal place to hang out and get a quick snack! They have a docile nature, and would much rather slither away than attack. They live for about 10-15 years in the wild, and can get up to 5ft long! They are proficient climbers, and will do so in order to seek out prey such as birds, bats, and lizards. Corn Snakes are constrictors, they rely on their body to subdue their prey. Snakes have a bad reputation, but a vast majority of them are harmless, and perform important roles in balancing our ecosystem. The light pink and lavender snake exhibits colors that are not found in the wild. These ?color morphs? are an? excellent example of a process known as selective breeding. This is done by breeders who prefer specific traits, such as color, and then match up snakes that will give them that trait.


Rough Green Snake

Opheodrys aestivus

?The rough green snake is docile, often allowing close approach by humans, and seldom bites. The snake has bright green back and a yellowish belly, affording it excellent camouflage in green vegetation. It can grow up to 4 feet in length and is very thin. The rough green snake ranges throughout the Southeastern United States. Its preferred habitat is moist meadows and woodlands, often near water. It is highly arboreal (lives in trees),? and can be found climbing in low vegetation. They are also good swimmers. Unlike many snakes, it is largely diurnal, which means its active during the day. Their diet consists mostly of insects, but some snails and tree frogs are eaten as well.

Rough Green Snake

Brown Anole

Anolis sagrei

The Brown Anole is a lizard native to Cuba and the Bahamas. It has been widely introduced elsewhere, including the southern United States. This species is highly invasive. Its introduction in the US has triggered a negative effect on populations of the native Carolina Anole. The Brown Anole feeds on insects, other lizards, (such as the Carolina Anole), and lizard eggs.? As a ?defense mechanism, they can detach most of their tails when pursued or captured. The piece that breaks off will continue to move, hopefully distracting the predator allowing the anole to escape.

Brown Anole

Six-lined Racerunner

Cnemidophorus sexlineatus

Six-lined Racerunners are a type of whiptail lizard. They are incredibly fast and can reach speeds up to 18 mph which is how they got their name. They can lose their tails in order to get away from predators, but when the tail grows back its not as colorful and its made of cartilage . They are ?diurnal and are most active in the morning and evening. Racerunners will take refuge in burrows at night, and when threatened by a predator.? The females lay a clutch of 1-6 eggs in the summer, and the babies hatch throughout June and September. Six lined Racerunners diet is made up of a variety of insects and arachnids.

Six Lined Racerunner

Stink Pot Turtle

Sternotherus odoratus

Stink Pot Turtles are also known as common musk turtles due to its ability to release a foul musky odor to deter predators. Stinkpots are black, grey or brown turtles with highly domed shells. They can grow to approximately 3 to 5?inches. They have long necks and rather short legs. Males can usually be? distinguished from females by their significantly longer tails. The head is vaguely?triangular in shape, with a pointed snout and sharp beak, and yellow-green striping from the tip of the nose to the neck. Barbels are present on the chin and the throat. Their tiny tongues are covered in bud-like papillae that allow them to respire underwater,? Musk turtles are almost entirely aquatic, spending the vast majority of their time in shallow, heavily vegetated waters of slow moving creeks, or in ponds. They can live for more than fifty years.

Stink Pot Turtle

Yellow Mud Turtle

Kinosternon flavescens flavescens

The yellow mud turtle can live up to 15 years. They are also referred to as musk turtles because they release a nasty smelling liquid when disturbed. The males have a blunt spine at the base if their tail, the females do not. Yellow Mud Turtles are primarily aquatic, favoring waterways that have a muddy substrate. They are omnivorous, and eat a variety of insects, crustaceans, and vegetation.

Yellow Mud Turtle

Red-Eared Slider

Trachemys scripta elegans

?The Red-Eared Slider gets its name from the bright red stripes found behind each eye and its ability to slide off rocks quickly. Like most turtles, the? Red-Eared Slider does not have saliva and, therefore, must eat in the water. The water, along with its fixed tongue, help it swallow its food. These turtles are found throughout the state of Texas in slow-moving waters. Red-Eared Sliders can be seen basking in the sun in large groups. In crowded basking areas, they will stack up on top of each other as many as three deep! Red-Eared Sliders are also the most common type of turtle kept as a pet. In captivity, it can live up to 35 years, often times, outliving its owner!?

Red Eared Slider and Baby

Texas Spiny Softshell Turtle

Trionyx spineferus emoryi

The Texas Spiny Softshell Turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in North America. The top part of their shells are covered with tiny spins, creating a sandpaper effect to the touch. They are highly aquatic, and often bask in shallow water using their long necks to reach the surface and breathe. They can be aggressive, and can easily reach around their shell to nip you.?

Spiny Soft shell