Snakes of Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix snake

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

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

Common Snake Species in Phoenix

Phoenix snake Sonoran Gophersnake: Phoenix is a city known for its wide collection of both small and large snakes and this snake right here happens to be one of the most common snakes in this city. Sonoran gophersnakes are large snakes with a striking resemblance to rattlesnakes. These snakes impersonate rattlesnakes to the point that people often confuse them with rattlesnakes. They have a rattling tail and a flattened head. Though the bites of this snake are not deadly when at a mature stage it can give a painful bite.

Phoenix snake Desert Nightsnake: This is another snake that is frequently encountered in Arizona. It is small in size and can be found along desert trails at night, under debris, garages, and sheds. With a length of just 1.5 inches at adulthood, these small snakes are one of the harmless snakes in Arizona. Desert nightsnakes are completely nocturnal. As a result of this, you will hardly see them during the day time crawling around. Though these small snakes are not dangerous, still they have mild venom capable of causing slight pain.

Phoenix snake California Kingsnake: This snake is also common in Arizona; they are fast-moving snakes with an incredible ability to stay hidden. Though when you finally get to see them, they are quite easy to identify. These snakes have black and white bands that run through their body from the head to the tail. An adult California kingsnake can grow as long as 46 inches.

Venomous Snake Species in Phoenix

Phoenix snake Sonoran Sidewinder: These are small rattlesnakes with deadly venoms. They can be found in sandy desert areas where they can easily hide and stay unnoticed. They are either 2 feet long or less with a distinctive side-winding motion. In Phoenix Arizona, you will find this species of snake around the outskirts of valleys, in open areas, or flat grounds. To identify this snake, all you have to do is examine the small horns that protrude over each eye of the snake. Another distinctive feature is their skin color and pattern which is usually a white and brown ribbon along the back of the snake.

Phoenix snake Black-tailed Rattlesnake: These rattlesnakes are less aggressive compared to other snakes in Phoenix Arizona. They prefer to stay around mountain areas and the surroundings of foothills. The black-tailed rattlesnake is a heavy snake and can grow as long as 36 inches when at its adult stage. The black-tailed rattlesnakes in Phoenix Arizona are mostly brown with a tint of either green, orange, or yellow. Another distinctive feature which can be used to separate this snake from every other rattlesnake in Arizona is the presence of an all-black rattled tail.

Phoenix snake Speckled Rattlesnake: These species of snakes are common in hillsides and rocky areas close to mountains. They are of different colors and this usually varies from white to grey. Also, they have loose banded patterns that look like granite.

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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix, it's venomous snakes of Phoenix. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Phoenix. The few venomous snakes of Maricopa County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Phoenix in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Glendale, Surprise, Buckeye, Goodyear, Avondale, Cave Creek, Sun City, Fountain Hills, Litchfield Park, Paradise Valley, Wickenburg, Tolleson, Gila Bend, Sun Lakes, El Mirage, Carefree, Youngtown, Sun City West, Tonopah, New River, Guadalupe, Wittman, Morristow, Fort McDowell, Rio Verde, Arlington, Aguila, Komatke, Theba, Wranglers Roost, Citrus Park, Wintersburg, Kaka and the surrounding areas.

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