Are There Snakes In Alaska?

Two snakes in alaska

Snakes tend not to be people’s favorite creatures. Honestly, they’re kind of weird-looking, and a lot of them are poisonous to humans and other animals.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid snakes in most parts of the world altogether. This is mainly unsettling for those who have Ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes.

Almost all snakes prefer living in warmer climates because they’re cold-blooded, which has many people wondering if there are any snakes in the state of Alaska.

The answer to this is more complicated than saying yes or no.

Alaska does have snakes, but they’re the only state in the United States that isn’t home to any poisonous snakes. Even though snakes have been spotted in Alaska, there has been no official documentation of any snake species making a permanent home in this state. So, if you’re searching for a place to live, Alaska has no native snake species.

Why Doesn’t Alaska Have Wild Snakes?

The main reason you won’t often if ever, seen snakes in the wild in Alaska is because of how cold the state is.

Snakes are cold-blooded creatures and rely on warmer temperatures to keep them warm and alive. In Alaska, the ground freezes for months at a time.

That, and there’s quite a bit of snow, depending on where you are. Most snakes can only tolerate a temperature as low as 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even in the warmest parts of Alaska, the temperature drops well below 65 degrees during the winter.

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What Snakes Have People Seen in Alaska?

While snakes are uncommon in the last frontier, these reptiles have been sightings over the years.

In the 1970s, garter snakes were seen gathering around hot springs in Alaska.

It’s been roughly 50 years since then, and there have been no reports of that happening in that area again.

Garter snakes are sometimes seen on the Alaskan panhandle. Luckily, garter snakes are harmless.

There are no official reports of these snakes making their home in Alaska. Even if they are seen, people are not allowed to hunt them or collect them for themselves.

Even though people have reported seeing garter snakes in Alaska, they don’t have large populations, and it’s unclear how often people actually see these snakes.

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Even though snakes aren’t commonly found in the wild in Alaska, some people still keep these reptiles as pets.

Many of the snakes seen while in Alaska are escaped pet snakes. Back in 2017, someone’s 100 pounds, 17 feet python escaped.

To say this caused quite the stir is an understatement. When this massive snake escaped, it caused a large-scale search conducted by government officials.

But don’t worry, officials found the snake making its way home to its owner.

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Can You Buy Snakes In Pet Stores In Alaska?

A lot of pet stores in the United States sell harmless snakes for people to own.

Since snakes don’t live in the wild in Alaska, can you purchase snakes at a pet store there? Supposedly you can.

These stores that carry snakes have to have them imported from elsewhere, though.

Just be sure that if you are going to own a snake as a pet, you do your best not to let it escape.

During the winter months, if your snake escapes your home, there’s a very good chance you won’t find your pet alive due to the icy weather.

How Many Species Of Snakes Are There?

There are over 3,000 species of snakes on our planet. The 3,000 snake species don’t even include the number of snakes that live in our oceans.

Of the 3,000 species, roughly 600 of them are considered to be venomous. Even though a decent amount of snakes are venomous, only about 200 species are poisonous enough to hurt or kill the average human seriously.

Everyone’s reaction to a venomous snake is different, though, and if you’re allergic, you could face more severe reactions.

Where Else Are There No Snakes?

Surprisingly, there are quite a few places in the world where you won’t find snakes.

In addition to Alaska, you won’t find snakes in these other icy places: Antarctica, Iceland, Siberia, anywhere in the arctic circle, and Greenland.

You won’t find snakes living in several Pacific islands, Ireland, New Zealand, or the southernmost tip of Argentina or Chile.

The majority of these places make sense for not having snakes because they’re very cold.

But why aren’t there snakes in New Zealand or Ireland? When fossils started showing snakes over 100 million years ago, Ireland was much farther from other landmasses.

That means snakes had no way of traveling to Ireland. Hypothetically, if snakes did make it to Ireland, the country was much colder than it is today, and they wouldn’t have survived.

New Zealand is a relatively warm country with no snakes. Since New Zealand is far removed from Australia, snakes have no way of making their way there independently.

Even sea snakes rarely make their way to New Zealand because the distance between this country and Australia is too much.

What Is The Largest Snake In The World?

The largest snake species in the world is the reticulated python. These snakes regularly reach lengths of 20 feet.

The largest one ever recorded was found in 1912, measuring over 30 feet.

These massive reptiles are found in Southeast Asia, and despite their enormous size, they’re not poisonous.

Are There Snakes In Alaska Pinterest
Are There Snakes In Alaska Pinterest

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A Snake’s Body Is Unique

These reptiles are unique in many ways. Snakes cannot chew their food, so to eat their prey, they have to unhinge their jaw to swallow their prey whole.

Since snakes cannot chew and their jaw becomes unhinged, they can open it up to 150 degrees.

Doing this allows them to be able to eat prey that is from 75-100% larger than them. Snakes also have a very slow metabolism.

Their slow metabolism and ability to swallow large prey whole means that they don’t need to eat as often as humans.

One of the weirdest things about snakes is that they don’t smell through a nose. Their tongue is how they smell.

Spiders in Alaska. Are there any?

Now that we covered snakes in Alaska, what about spiders? Are there any in Alaska, or are they absent because of the cold temperature? You can read all about it in our post: Are There Spiders in Alaska?

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.