Snake Identification Characteristics Tables

All of the snake species indigenous to South Carolina are listed in the following tables with our suggested description values provided. To facilitate viewing, the master list has been subdivided into four pages. Each page lists the Common Name of the species. The first page provides the Scientific Name and whether the species is venomous. The second page lists the 3 size associated characteristics (Length, Body Shape, Head and Neck Shape) plus Scale Texture. The third page lists the dorsal and belly colors and patterns. The last page lists the remaining Identifying Characteristics of Eye Pupil Shape, Undertail Scales, and Anal Plate Division.

Two new identifying characteristics have also been included on the last page: Facial Pit and Tail End. Facial Pit refers to the presence of heat sensing pits located between, and below, each nostril and eye of pit vipers. Tail End refers to the type of ending of the snake's tail. Most snake tails, if the tail end has not been lost, taper to a small diameter, flexible ending. These common tail ends are called "tapered" in the table. On a few species, the tail ends in a small, hard, sharp point which is called "horned" in the table. And, of course, rattlesnakes have "rattles" derived from dried skin retained on the tail end with each shedding.

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August 11, 2000
Gene Ott

© 2000. Edwin Eugene Ott