North Dakota ranks at the bottom of the United States when it comes to snake diversity.

THANK GOD!  I'm not a fan of snakes and never have been.  Growing up in eastern North Dakota, I really only had a couple of encounters with garter snakes and that's about it.

Beware of Snow Snakes. 

One species of venomous snakes you have to be aware of here in Bismarck during the wintertime is the much-feared "Snow Snake."  They move very fast over snow and sneak up on you when you least expect it.  :)

Rick Rider
Rick Rider

My lake cabin in northeast South Dakota also only has garter snakes thankfully.  It does freak me out sometimes when I see them swimming in the water, and I wonder if they're going to try to crawl in?  I've heard about several encounters people have had with Rattlesnakes on the Missouri River, where a snake will be swimming on the surface of the water and will try to take up residency inside the boat.  Experts say you should keep your oar on hand in case of such an encounter.  YIKES!

Getting back to North Dakota snakes. 

We only have 8 different species of snakes in North Dakota and only one of them is venomous (yep, I was kidding on the snow snake).   The Prairie Rattlesnake is the most common rattlesnake in the United States.  It's also the only venomous snake in Canada.  Bullsnakes, a nonvenomous snake in North Dakota are often mistaken for the Prairie Rattlesnakes.  Both the Bull and Prairie Rattlesnake have a primary range west of the Missouri River, however, they can and do swim across the river at times.  A Bullsnake was run over by a vehicle last summer near my house south of Lincoln.  So, it wouldn't be unheard of to run into a rattlesnake on the Bismarck side of the river.

Here are the 8 different species of snakes in North Dakota.

Try not to get too creeped out.

8 Snakes You Could Encounter In North Dakota


LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.


Ten Tiny Towns In North Dakota