San Francisco Bay Area Snakes

Use this guide to ID snakes found throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

More info coming about each snake soon.


Garter Snake

These are the most commonly found snakes in urban areas here in the bay area. They are great for your garden as they love eating slugs. There are a handful of different species of garter snake with lots of variation in color and pattern.


Pacific Gopher Snake

Harmless Gopher Snakes are often mistaken for rattlesnakes, as they have a similar color and pattern. Gopher snakes will rattle their tail (although they don’t have a rattle) and flatten their head when threatened, which can add to the confusion. They benefit humans by helping to control rodent populations so it’s always a good thing to see gopher snakes around.



This is the only snake that can be dangerous to humans in the SF bay area.


Pacific Ringneck Snake

If you’re lucky enough to find a Pacific Ring Necked Snake you’ve truly met a little gem of the Pacific coast. You’ll immediately notice the nice orange to yellow color on their belly and around their neck and if they feel threatened they put on quite a show by coiling their tail upside down to show you the bright orange underside, this is a warning to you that they taste bad and please leave them alone. It’s totally safe to gently pick up a Pacific Ring-Necked Snake to admire it and then move it to safety but they prefer cool temperatures and so don’t appreciate our warm hands, pockets or homes.


Sharp Tail Snake

If your out gardening or digging a hole you might meet a Sharp-Tailed Snake. Sharp Tailed Snakes are fossorial, which is a fancy word that means they like to live underground and under rocks, logs or even under leaf litter where it’s a little damp. They eat little salamanders, but also slugs and slug eggs, so they’re a good friend to have around the yard!


Rubber Boa