Florida Snakes Identification

This simplified key is an aid to the identification of the snakes of Florida for use by laymen with no technical training in herpetology. To use it you only have to observe the color and characteristics of the scales on the back and on the belly of the snake.

Glass lizards (genus Ophisaurus), have no legs and are often confused with snakes, so before using this Key make sure the reptile you have is a snake.  Snakes have no eyelids and are unable to close their eyes, clear scales cover and protect their eyes.  Snakes also have no external ears, so if the reptile you are identifying has eyelids that can be closed or has ear-openings on the side of the head, it is a lizard and not a snake.

How to Use this Key:

  1. Start with the first question. Decide whether the statment in the first box or the the second box best describes the characteristics of the snake you are trying to identify. (There are links to examples of these traits if you need help.)
  2. Click on the "Yes" button in the box that best matches your snake. Your choice will lead you to the next appropriate pair of questions.
  3. Work through the questions, each time choosing the characteristic that best matches your snake from the two choices. This will lead you to the final choice which identifies the snake.

Are you ready to begin?

snakes yes button

The key is so simplified that occasionally it will lead you to an incorrect identification. To check the accuracy, click on the name and compare your snake with the photographs and description. Each account compares that species to the other snakes with which it is most often confused, so with a click or two you can check those species and confirm the identity of your snake.

Full description of Color Patterns and Scale Structures