Explanation of Pupil

Explanation of Pupil

Pupil

In Kentucky, the black part in the center of the eye (pupil) of harmless snakes is round. Venomous snakes have egg-shaped or cat-like (elliptical) pupils. 

Snake pupil shapes

Explanation of Head Shapes

Explanation of Head Shapes

Head Shape

Venomous snakes usually have a triangular (wide at the back and attached to a narrow neck) or 'spade-shaped' head. Be aware that many non-venomous snakes, such as watersnakes, flatten their heads when threatened and may be confused with venomous snakes.

Snake head shapes

Snake head shapes

Explanation of Body Shapes

Explanation of Body Shapes

Kentucky’s snake species exhibit wide variability in body shape. Some species are thick, stocky and heavy-bodied for their length; these snakes include our pit viper species, eastern hognose snakes, some of the watersnakes and others. Other species are usually slender for their length. Slender species include rough greensnakes, several of the woodland snakes (wormsnakes, ringneck snakes, red-bellied snakes), black racers and ribbonsnakes. While body shapes are often generalizable for a given species, occasionally snake species deviate from their typical shapes. For example, it is not uncommon to find slender or moderately-shaped northern watersnakes. It is best to use body shape in association with other characteristics to identify your snake.   

snake body types

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Describes the primary shape of the snakes head.
Describes the primary shape of the snakes pupil.
Describes the overall shape of the snakes body.
Indicates whether the snake has a facial pit (only in vipers).
Describes the primary markings/patterns on the back of the snake.
Describes the primary markings/patterns on the belly of the snake.
Describes the primary coloring present on the back of the snake.
Describes the primary coloring present on the belly of the snake.