5 Types Of Snakes In Ontario (2024)

Snakes are a fascinating and often misunderstood part of the Ontario ecosystem. While some species of snake may cause alarm in humans, many others are harmless, and some even beneficial. There are 35 species of snakes found in Ontario, the majority of which are harmless. They range in size from the tiny Northern Redbelly Snake, which is just 13 inches long, to the large Eastern Fox Snake, which can reach up to 6 feet in length.

Most snakes in Ontario are non-venomous, though there are three species of venomous snakes. The most common five types of Snakes in Ontario are the Eastern Gartersnake, Eastern Milksnake, Eastern Ratsnake, Eastern Foxsnake and Northern Watersnake.  Snakes can be found in all kinds of habitats, from wetlands and forests to urban areas.

5 Types Of Snakes In Ontario

1. Eastern Gartersnake

The Eastern Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) is one of the five types of snakes in Ontario. It is the most widespread snake species in Canada, as well as the most common snake in Ontario.

The Eastern Gartersnake is a medium-sized snake, usually reaching lengths of between 24 and 40 inches (60 to 100 cm). It is typically a grayish-green color, with three yellow stripes running along its back and sides. It is non-venomous, and feeds primarily on earthworms, slugs, and frogs.

Eastern Gartersnakes are semi-aquatic, spending much of their time near water. They can be found in a variety of habitats, from wetlands and marshes to woodlands and urban areas. In Ontario, they are most commonly found in the Great Lakes region, and can also be found in the southern parts of the province.

Eastern Gartersnakes are active during the day, and hibernate during the winter months. They breed in the spring, and females lay up to 30 eggs in late summer. The eggs hatch after about two months, and the young snakes are ready to fend for themselves.

The Eastern Gartersnake is not considered to be endangered in Ontario, although it is listed as threatened in other parts of its range. It is protected under Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, and killing or harassing a wild Eastern Gartersnake is illegal.

2. Eastern Milksnake

The Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum) is a species of non-venomous snake that is native to parts of the United States and Canada, including Ontario. It is a medium-sized snake, typically measuring between 18-36 inches in length.

It is gray or grayish-brown in color, with alternating black, red, and yellow or white crossbands that run down the length of its body. It is a diurnal species, meaning it is primarily active during the day, and it is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, woodlands, and open rocky areas.

The Eastern Milksnake is an opportunistic feeder, and its diet consists of small mammals such as voles, mice, and shrews, as well as other small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, and birds. It preys on these animals by actively hunting them or by ambushing them from their hiding spots. It is a fast and agile snake, and it is capable of quickly overpowering its prey.

The Eastern Milksnake is a great species for those looking for an interesting and manageable pet snake. They are generally docile, easy to care for, and can be handled without too much difficulty. They are also relatively hardy and tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, so they can be kept in a variety of enclosures.

The Eastern Milksnake is a great species of snake for anyone looking for a captivating and manageable pet. It is a common species of snake that is native to Ontario, and it is a great way to learn more about the fascinating world of herpetology.

Types Of Snakes In Ontario
Types Of Snakes In Ontario

3. Eastern Ratsnake

The Eastern Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta) is a species of rat snake found throughout much of eastern North America. The species can be found in all of Ontario, Canada, ranging from the far north to the far south. In Ontario, the Eastern Ratsnake is the only rat snake species found, and is considered a species of special concern.

Eastern Ratsnakes are medium-sized snakes, growing to an average length of 3-4 feet. They typically have a pattern of alternating black and yellow or white bands, although patterns may vary from individual to individual. The species can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and wetlands.

Eastern Ratsnakes are non-venomous and typically feed on small rodents, birds, and eggs. They are also known to climb trees and buildings in search of food. They are usually nocturnal, spending the day hiding in logs, burrows, or other sheltered areas.

Due to their wide range and large population, the Eastern Ratsnake is not currently considered to be threatened or endangered. However, due to habitat destruction and other human disturbances, the species is still considered a species of special concern in Ontario. It is important to take care to ensure that Eastern Ratsnakes and other species of wildlife do not suffer from human activities.

4. Eastern Foxsnake

The Eastern Foxsnake is a species of large, non-venomous snake that is native to Ontario, Canada. It is a member of the Colubridae family and is typically found in wetlands, woodlands, and agricultural areas. It is a light brown to tan color with dark brown blotches and has a characteristic yellow to orange collar around its neck. It can grow up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) in length and can weigh up to 2.3 kilograms (5 pounds).

The Eastern Foxsnake is an active and diurnal species, meaning it is most active during the day. It feeds primarily on small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, though it may also consume birds, eggs, and insects. It will often use its tail to mimic a rattlesnake and can do so very convincingly. This behavior is known as “tail rattle” and is used to deter potential predators.

The Eastern Foxsnake is considered a species at risk in Ontario and is protected under the Endangered Species Act. As its habitat is threatened by human activity, it is important to protect the species in order to ensure its long-term survival. Conservation efforts include habitat protection, public education, and research.

5. Northern Watersnake

The Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) is a species of large, non-venomous snake found in parts of North America, including Ontario. It is an aquatic species, typically found in or near bodies of water, such as lakes, ponds, and streams. It is one of the five types of Snakes in Ontario.

The Northern Watersnake is a large, heavy-bodied snake, typically reaching lengths of 3-4 feet, though some individuals may reach up to 6 feet in length. They are generally brown or gray in color, with a pattern of dark, rectangular spots that run down their back and sides. They have a light-colored belly, and their scales are keeled, meaning they have a ridge down the middle of each scale.

In Ontario, Northern Watersnakes are found in areas with permanent bodies of water, such as lakes, ponds, and streams. They are usually found in shallow water, or on the banks of these bodies of water. They are active during the day and night, but can be more active in the evening or on cloudy days.

Northern Watersnakes are not considered dangerous, as they are non-venomous. However, they will bite if they feel threatened, and their bite can cause swelling and pain. Therefore, it is important to leave these snakes alone and give them plenty of space.

Northern Watersnakes feed on a variety of aquatic animals, such as fish, frogs, and small mammals. They are important predators in the aquatic ecosystem, and help to maintain a healthy balance of prey species. The Northern Watersnake is an important and common species of snake in Ontario, and is an important part of the aquatic ecosystem.



Snakes are an important part of the Ontario ecosystem, and many of the species found in the province are harmless. Understanding the common five types of snakes in Ontario, their characteristics, habitats, and behaviors is an important part of living in harmony with them.



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