Texas is the second largest state.
And it has a large snake population.
It comes as no surprise that some of the largest snakes in the US live in Texas.
That said, the biggest snakes in Texas are still much smaller than the world’s biggest snakes.
But that does not make them any less fascinating.
Let’s take a look at the largest snakes in the state of Texas and see what they are all about.
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Biggest Snakes In Texas
The seven snake species below are the largest snakes you will find in the state of Texas. Some of them are venomous and some are not. Let’s take a look!
Texas Indigo Snake
The Texas Indigo Snake is in the running for the biggest snake in Texas, both in length and weight. Most adults grow to between 5 and 6 ½ feet, although recent reports describe a specimen measuring over 8.5 feet.
Indigo snakes get their name due to their beautiful coloring. It is blue-black and shimmers with iridescence under the right lighting.
The Texas Indigo’s distribution is restricted to the semi-arid parts of south Texas. These snakes require moisture, so you tend to find them near ponds, streams, cattle tanks, drainage ditches, etc.
Despite their large size, Texas Indigo snakes rarely bite in self-defense. However, they do spray a foul-smelling musk when scared.
Texas Indigos eat various vertebrate animals, like frogs, toads, lizards, baby turtles, other snakes, birds, and other small mammals. They subdue their prey and swallow it whole using their strong, flexible jaws and sharp teeth.
If you’re thinking this beautiful snake would make for a great pet, I have bad news. It is not ideal as a pet. But there are a number of black snakes that make good pets. They are just as beautiful and much easier to care for.
Texas Rat Snake
The Texas rat snake is one of Texas’ largest snakes. Adults measure between 42 and 72 inches (3.5 to 6 feet) and the record length of a specimen was 86 inches (7.1 feet).
They vary in colors and patterns based on their habitat. Most are olive green, yellow, or tan, but you can find rare colors too, like the leucistic one pictured above.
The Texas rat snake is aggressive but nonvenomous. Its diet consists of rodents, birds, lizards, squirrels, and frogs. Texas rat snakes are found throughout eastern Texas.
They are an arboreal species and prefer climbing trees for shelter and eating birds’ eggs. They are also found in grasslands, rocky hillsides, cultivated fields, and wooded suburban lots. The Texas rat snake is also called the “chicken snake” because it is often found near chicken coops.
Texas rat snakes do not slither away when threatened. Rather, they act boldly and strike a threatening S-position. They even vibrate their tails against the ground, sounding frighteningly like a rattlesnake.
Desert King Snake
The desert kingsnake is mainly found in Mexico and New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. The average adult measures 3 to 4 feet but some are known to grow up to 6 to 8 feet.
Texas desert kingsnakes are mostly yellow, dark brown, or black. One unique characteristic of the Texas desert king snake is that, when threatened, it flips on its back and pretends to play dead.
Desert kingsnakes are found near moisture and damp conditions like brushlands or in dry, arid deserts. Their diet consists of rodents, lizards, and toads, but they also display cannibalism by eating other snakes. They use constriction to kill their prey.
They are also called the “king of snakes” since they have developed resistance to the venom of pit vipers and can easily kill and eat small diamondback rattlesnakes.
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
The Western Diamondback rattlesnake is known to reach lengths of over 8 feet, although the average snake measures between 4 and 6 feet.
Unlike other rattlesnakes, Western Diamondback rattlesnakes have a series of black and white bands just above their rattles. You can easily recognize this snake from the unique diamond-shaped pattern along its body.
Western diamondbacks use their venom to immobilize their prey (mainly rodents, birds, and small mammals). This venom is hemotoxic and causes paralysis.
Among rattlesnakes in the American Southwest, the Western Diamondback is responsible for the highest number of human bites.
In Texas, the western diamondback is the most common rattlesnake species. It is found nearly everywhere in habitats like flatlands, rocky hills, and low mountains. Its diet consists of rodents, rabbits, birds, lizards, etc.
The timber rattlesnake is a large, heavy-bodied snake. There are reports of some species reaching lengths of 7 feet, although the average timber rattler measures between 2.5 and 5 feet. They have large chevron-like crossbands on their pinkish, brown, yellow, or tan bodies.
In Texas, timber rattlers are found in swamps, hilly forests, agricultural fields, and farmlands. They are mainly terrestrial but are capable of climbing tall trees.
Timber rattlesnakes feast on squirrels, mice, shrews, birds, lizards, and amphibians. They shed their skin once every two years and add a segment to their rattle every time they shed. They hibernate in the cold months with other snakes, preferably in dens.
Timber rattler populations have been on the decline for several years now. People intentionally kill them, although these beautiful snakes usually do not attack humans and prefer slithering away rather than striking.
The average adult western cottonmouth snake measures about 3 feet long but some adults are known to reach lengths of five feet and above. Since they spend a lot of their time in the water, they are called water moccasins or water mambas.
They are muscular and thick-bodied snakes with colors ranging from dark brown, olive, black, banded brown, or yellow.
In Texas, the western cottonmouth’s range includes the eastern parts of the state, mainly near swamps, marshes, rivers, lakes, and streams.
Cottonmouths get their name due to the white, cotton-like coloration on the inside of their mouths. They display this when they feel threatened. However, these venomous pit vipers rarely bite humans.
Western cottonmouths eat a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial animals, including frogs, lizards, baby turtles, and fish.
The southern copperhead is a venomous snake that averages between 1.67 and 3 feet in length. However, a specimen measuring 11 feet has also been reported.
These snakes have distinct copper, brown, or reddish-colored bands on light pink, tan, or brown bodies. Like other pit viper snakes, southern copperheads have distinct triangular heads.
Although copperheads are not aggressive, the majority of snake bites reported in the USA come from them. They mostly try to avoid humans but bite when surprised. They are capable of lying very still and blending in well with their surroundings, so it is possible to startle one and get bitten.
In Texas, southern copperheads are found in woodlands, rocky hillsides near water, and on the edges of swamps. They are known to inhabit old buildings, trash piles, and rotten logs. They mainly eat small rats, mice, insects, lizards, and frogs.
Large Snakes In Texas: Final Thoughts
Texas is home to a diverse range of snake species, including some fairly large ones. While they can’t compete with the large snakes in Africa, Asia or South America, the biggest snakes in Texas are also some of the biggest in North America.
The Texas Indigo Snake, Texas Rat Snake, Desert King Snake, Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Timber Rattlesnake, Western Cottonmouth, and Southern Copperhead all contribute to the rich snake population in Texas.
These snakes vary in size, behavior, habitat, and diet, showcasing the unique and fascinating characteristics of the snake species in the region. Understanding and appreciating these snakes is essential for coexisting with them in their natural habitats.