Snakes of Cleveland, OH

Cleveland snake

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

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

Common Snake Species in Cleveland

Cleveland snake Queen snake: Queen snakes are non-venomous aquatic snakes. They are found on or around slow-moving or stagnant water bodies. They are typically found underneath large rocks, debris, and boards located close to water bodies like streams. They are not aggressive but will bite when they are threatened or captured. Because of their small teeth and jaws, their bites usually have little to no effect. They could also release a musk to help them escape being captured.

Cleveland snake Eastern milksnake: The eastern milksnake is a non-venomous snake that can be mistaken for venomous snakes for multiple reasons. Firstly, the patterns on their bodies are similar to that of venomous snakes. They also shake their tails in a manner that is similar to the tail movement of rattlesnakes.In Cleveland, Ohio, they could be found around human dwellings where they infest in search of food. They feed on small animals and rodents like rats and mice. Even though they do not produce venom, they are boa constrictors and will squeeze their prey to death. They could be found in yards or within homes.

Cleveland snake Hognose snake: These non-venomous snakes that are natives of Cleveland, Ohio are known for different unique features. Firstly, they have an upturned nose, which gives them the hognose name. These snakes are non-venomous and can strike violently when they feel threatened, even though that activity causes little effect. They take a dramatic defensive position when they are threatened. They flatten their head and neck, to give the impression of a cobra hood. They also hiss fiercely as part of the defensive measures they apply. Hognose snakes also play dead when they are attacked. They play dead by acting like opossums and laying on their backs. They lay on their backs and stop breathing. After the intruder or predator goes away, they return to their normal position and continue their activities.

Venomous Snake Species in Cleveland

Cleveland snake Timber rattlesnake: Timber rattlesnakes are regarded as one of the most dangerous snakes in the US. They are found in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as many other locations in the country. They release toxic venoms and their bite can have serious negative effects. They have two color phases, which are seen in both sexes, the black phase, and the yellow phase. In the yellow phase, they have crossbands against a yellow background. In the black phase, the crossbands are against a black background. The snakes stay away from human activity, in areas with high elevations. Although they release toxic venoms, their bites are rarely recorded because they typically stay far away from human activity. They may only be encountered on outdoor activities such as hiking. Timber rattlesnakes are not generally aggressive. They will avoid human encounters as much as possible. However, they will strike and bite when they are backed into a corner. Before they will strike and bite, like other rattlesnakes, they will make the rattling sound to warn intruders and predators.

Cleveland snake Eastern massasauga rattlesnake: These venomous snakes have established populations in Cleveland, Ohio. However, they are rarely seen and encountered. The state of Ohio acknowledges that the eastern massasauga rattlesnake is an endangered species. They have small and stout bodies, with small and conspicuous rattles. Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes have grayish to grayish brown bodies. Their bodies could also be completely black. They will not bite until they are extensively disturbed. When they bite, they release highly toxic venom. However, they release the venoms in small quantities and they have little to no effects. The snakes are sluggish and would prefer to be left alone and stay away from all forms of human interactions. Nevertheless, they can be found around human dwellings when they search for food sources, including rodents.

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 Cleveland 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 Cleveland, it's venomous snakes of Cleveland. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Cleveland. The few venomous snakes of Cuyahoga County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Cleveland in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Parma, Strongsville, Lakewood, Westlake, Rocky River, Solon, North Royalton, Berea, Euclid, Chagrin Falls, Bay Village, North Olmsted, Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Beachwood, Shaker Heights, Bedford, Garfield Heights, Broadview Heights, Independence, Middleburg Heights, Olmsted Falls, South Euclid, Brook Park, Mayfield Heights, Fairview Park, Maple Heights, Parma Heights, East Cleveland, Moreland Hills, Seven Hills, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Lyndhurst, Brooklyn Heights, and the surrounding areas.

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