Identity of snake

Asked May 26, 2019, 2:36 AM EDT

Can anyone help to identify this snake (skin)? Parents live in Western, KY. Approx 4.6 feet long. Picture looks to have rattlers attached.

Kentucky snake identification mccracken county kentucky

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Your photos don't show enough detail of the head and tail for me to determine whether this snake is venomous or non-venomous. It doesn't appear to be a rattlesnake skin, because the scales on the rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths are all keeled. The part you're saying looks like attached rattles is just an area where the skin has been torn.

If you still have the skin, check the underside of the skin. You will see large individual belly scales. As you go towards the tail, you may be able to see what is called an anal plate. It will look somewhat different than the belly scales. The portion after the anal plate is the true tail of the snake. Non-venomous snakes in your area will have a double row of scales following the anal plate. Venomous snakes, on the other hand, except for the coral snake, have a single row of scales following the anal plate. I have attached a diagram for you to reference. You can at least tell if the snake was venomous or non-venomous.

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim