Welcome to grandrapidssnakes.com! I am David, a snake enthusiast living in Grand Rapids, MI. Many people don't know that Grand Rapids is in fact full of snakes! You just need to know where to find them - they can often be shy and elusive. Some Michigan snake species are more common outside of the city limits, in different parts of Kent County MI, but many types of snakes are indeed common in the more urban parts of Grand Rapids. This guide is meant to help educate you about the beautiful snakes of Grand Rapids, and to help you identify the most common snakes of Grand Rapids, as well as the venomous snakes of Grand Rapids that you should learn to recognize and avoid. If you want more detail, click here for my complete list of ALL snake species in Grand Rapids. Remember the following:
- Most snakes of Grand Rapids are harmless and don't want to encounter you
- Venomous snakes exist but are uncommon in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Snakes eat rats and mice and are a valuable part of the Michigan ecosystem
- Never kill a snake - if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone.
Common Snake Species in Grand RapidsBlack Rat Snake: Black rat snakes are some of the largest snakes you might encounter, but there’s no need to worry as these snakes are non-venomous. These reptiles are typically between three to seven feet long. As the name implies, they have a black body. Yet their chins and bellies tend to be white. These snakes live in a variety of different locations, it includes plains and farmlands. You might also see these snakes hanging out on top of trees, as they’re incredible climbers. Despite what their name implies, these constrictors prey on more than just rats. Their climbing ability lets them hunt birds and their eggs, and these snakes are also known to prey on amphibians like frogs.
Blue Racer: The blue racer is another large but non-threatening snake that you might encounter. These snakes can grow up to five feet long. These animals get their name from their blue or bluish-green scales. Yet their bellies tend to be white or cyan. Blue racer snakes tend to live in grassland. As a result, they can frequently be found in fields, prairies, and savannas. That’s because these areas give them plenty of cover to hide in. The blue racer, like all other racer snakes, can move very quickly. These snakes can move up to four miles an hour. While this may not seem like much compared to other animals, it’s remarkably fast for a snake. This animal uses its speed to catch small insects, birds, frogs, and mammals.
Eastern Garter Snake: The eastern garter snake is a very common snake species, and it’s found in many parts of the United States. This non-venomous snake is only one to two feet long, but it has a very distinct skin pattern. These snakes all have a dark body with three yellow lines running down their backs, as well as a yellow or white chin and belly. You can run into these snakes in any environment. This could be a field, prairie, forest, or wetland. Due to their size, eastern garter snakes are restricted to eating small prey. This includes small fish, birds, and amphibians. They’re also known to go after small mice and other small mammals.
Eastern Milk Snake: Milk snakes are another non-venomous snake. These reptiles are typically between two to four feet long. They have light grey skin covered in reddish-brown patches. These snakes tend to live in open environments, like fields, prairies, and farmlands. They’re called milk snakes because of the myth that they sneaked into barns to drink cows’ milk. Yet the truth is that they were drawn to barns because of the abundance of rats and mice found in them. In fact, these rodents are the constrictor’s main prey.
Venomous Snake Species in Grand RapidsEastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: The eastern massasauga rattlesnake is the only venomous snake found in the state of Michigan. These rattlesnakes are some of the smallest and they also have some of the least-toxic venoms of any rattlesnake. These reptiles are typically only two feet long. Yet some adults reach close to three feet in length. Their body is brown in color with dark, saddle-shaped splotches found all over. Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes live in a variety of locations. These include grasslands and prairies. Yet it’s particularly fond of living near wetland like swamps, marshes, and bogs. In fact, “massasauga” means “great river mouth”. These rattlesnakes primarily feed on small rodents. Yet they’re also known to prey on centipedes, lizards, and even other snakes.
If you're unsure, you can email me a photo of the snake at email@example.com 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 Grand Rapids 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 Grand Rapids, it's venomous snakes of Grand Rapids. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Grand Rapids. The few venomous snakes of Kent County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Grand Rapids in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Grand Rapids, Cedar Springs, Rockford, Kentwood, Wyoming, Byron Center, Grandville, Caledonia, Lowell, Sparta, Plainfield charter Township, Kent City, Cascade, East Grand Rapids, Walker, Grand Rapids charter Township, Sand Lake, Comstock Park, Lowell charter Township, Forest Hills, Cutlerville and the surrounding areas.
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