Snakes of Birmingham, AL

Birmingham snake

Welcome to! I am David, a snake enthusiast living in Birmingham, AL. Many people don't know that Birmingham is in fact full of snakes! You just need to know where to find them - they can often be shy and elusive. Some Alabama snake species are more common outside of the city limits, in different parts of Jefferson County AL, but many types of snakes are indeed common in the more urban parts of Birmingham. This guide is meant to help educate you about the beautiful snakes of Birmingham, and to help you identify the most common snakes of Birmingham, as well as the venomous snakes of Birmingham that you should learn to recognize and avoid. If you want more detail, click here for my complete list of ALL snake species in Birmingham. Remember the following:

  • Most snakes of Birmingham are harmless and don't want to encounter you
  • Venomous snakes exist but are uncommon in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Snakes eat rats and mice and are a valuable part of the Alabama ecosystem
  • Never kill a snake - if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone.

Common Snake Species in Birmingham

Red milk snake Red milk snake: The red milk snake is a medium-sized snake found in Birmingham, Alabama. Adults can grow up to 40 inches in length. The body of the snake is white with red to orange blotches bordered with black color. It is often confused with coral snakes which have red bands bordered by yellow. Red milk snakes can often be found in dry environments and woodlands. They hide under rocks and logs. Their diet consists mainly of birds, reptiles, and small rodents. Red milk snakes are not venomous and do not pose a threat to humans.

Birmingham snake Eastern Coachwhip: Eastern coachwhips are non-venomous snakes found in Birmingham and all over the US. It is one of the largest snakes in the world, with adults reaching from 50 to 72 inches in length, with the longest recorded being about 102 inches in length. Compared to their length, coachwhips have a slender body with a black colored head and neck. Their bodies may be slightly more tanned than their heads and their tails may be colored. Eastern coachwhips are extremely fast snakes and good climbers too. They love to stay in dry areas and they can be found on hillsides, thorn forests, fields, etc. They are diurnal, primarily active during the day. As opportunistic predators, some of their diets include birds, grasshoppers, large insects, and other small animals. Coachwhips are very aggressive and will strike in the oppressor’s face if threatened. Although not venomous, they can deliver a strong bite.

Birmingham snake Northern scarlet snake: Unlike eastern coachwhips, northern scale snakes are relatively small. Adults typically reach a length of 20 inches or less throughout their entire life. They have patterned bodies with red, black and yellow, or white bands alternating with each other. It is easy to mistake northern scarlet snakes for coral snakes because of the similar colors. However, in scarlet snakes, the red and yellow bands do not touch.

Northern scarlet snakes live in pine forests, under rocks, and sandhill scrubs. They spend most of their time underground and only come out for food and sunshine. They are never active during the day while above ground but may be encountered more often at night. Northern scarlets feed on frogs, snakes, and eggs of other reptiles. They are non-venomous and do not pose a threat to humans.

Venomous Snake Species in Birmingham

Birmingham snake Pigmy rattlesnake: The pigmy rattlesnake measures 15 to 22 inches and can reach a maximum length of 31 inches. They are quite common in Birmingham. Their bodies are light or dark grey to reddish-orange or tanned. They often have an orange stripe around the midline. Although they have a rattle, the tail is very long and the rattle may not be visible.

Pigmy rattlesnakes may be found around water bodies such as creeks, swamps, and marshes, although they can also be found in dry places like pine forests and burrows. They spend most of their time hiding from sight. Their body colors help to camouflage them well among leaf litters. Pigmy rattlesnakes eat lizards, frogs, insects, and other small animals.

Pigmy rattlesnakes are slightly venomous and while a bite from them is not fatal, they can cause hepatotoxicity leading to extreme pain.

Birmingham snake Eastern diamondback rattlesnake: This is the most venomous and largest snake found in Birmingham, Alabama. It has olive green or dark brown skin with diamond-shaped blotches. The center of the snake has a cream or yellow color. It has a triangular head and can measure up to 6 feet. It is known for its venomous and painful bites capable of killing the target.

Eastern diamondbacks live near pine forests and savannas close to wetlands. They can also be found on abandoned farms and buildings near pine forests. Although they do not like wet environments, eastern diamondbacks are good swimmers. They are ambush predators, often lying in one place for a long time while waiting for prey. They feed mostly on birds, mice, or even rabbits. When threatened, the snake will rattle its tail in warning before striking the intruder.

If you're unsure, you can email me a photo of the snake at and I will email you back with the snake's species. If you found a snake skin, read my Found a Skin? page, and you can email me a photo of the skin, and I'll identify the snake for you. If you need professional Birmingham snake removal help, click my Get Help page, or see the below website sponsor I found, who provides that service.

Remember, the term is not poisonous snakes of Birmingham, it's venomous snakes of Birmingham. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Birmingham. The few venomous snakes of Jefferson County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Birmingham in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Bessemer, Gardendale, Center Point, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Hueytown, Pinson, Fultondale, McCalla, Warrior, Adamsville, Pleasant Grove, Irondale, Kimberly, Fairfield, Midfield, Graysville, Tarrant, West Jefferson, Mulga, Clay, Morris, Mount Olive, Brighton, Trafford, Forestdale, Sylvan Springs, Brookside, Grayson Valley, Maytown, Lipscomb, North Johns, McDonald Chapel, Concord, Minor, Rock Creek, Cardiff, Edgewater, and the surrounding areas.

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