The best American state for snake-o-phobes is Alaska, home to no poisonous serpents. In fact, no snakes of any kind have been documented as permanent homesteaders. Close also-rans are Hawaii and Maine, with respectively one and one possible venomous snake species.
Rare non-poisonous garter snake (Thamnophis spp.) sightings at the southern tip of Alaska are believed to have involved nothing more menacing than tourists. The chilly adventurers were probably southbound after finding accommodations somewhat hostile in the state that’s too cold for snake survival. Because Alaska law permits possession of captive nonvenomous reptiles, escapees could possibly show up when the weather breaks.
Hawaii’s single native poisonous snake species only visits landlubbers accidentally. The yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelamis platurus) lives life completely on open oceans. When occasionally beached by currents, the animal’s tapered belly doesn’t allow it to crawl. Hawaii law prohibits possession of snakes, and the state is serious about it. The only serpents permitted are a government zoo’s two nonvenomous exhibition specimens, and four sterile brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) that the government uses for training snake detection dogs.
Once plentiful in New England and ranging south to Georgia, timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) may no longer occur in Maine. Due to loss of habitat coupled with wanton human destruction, it is suspected that the species may have become extinct in Rhode Island and Maine. All New England states protect this animal to some degree.
- University of Alaska Anchorage -- Alaska Natural Heritage Program: Amphibians and Reptiles of Alaska -- A Field handbook
- Reptile Channel: Reptiles in Alaska
- Anchorage Daily News: Mystery Snake Escapes Fish and Game Custody
- Alaska Administrative Code -- Fish and Game Statewide Provisions
- University of Hawaii-Manoa, Waikiki Aquarium: Yellow-Bellied Sea Snakes
- State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture: List of Prohibited Animals
- Reptile Channel: Herping in Hawaii
- Explore Biodiversity: Snakes -- Native Species in Hawaii: 1
- University of Massachusetts at Amherst: The Timber Rattlesnake Along the Connecticut River
- The Orianne Society: Timber Rattlesnake
- Natural History Education, Science, Technology: Snakes
- Pennsylvania State University -- The Virtual Nature Trail at Penn State New Kensington: Croatus horridus
- Juneau Empire: Juneau’s New Baby Pythons May Be Herpetological First
- Live Science: Why We’ll Always Fear Snakes
- Alderleaf Wilderness College: Identify Snakes: A How-to Guide
- Hawaii News Now: Small Venomous Snake Captured at Hickam
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- The Tech Online Edition: Unwanted Serpents Enter Hawaii, Snakeless Island Fights Onslaught
- Juneau Empire: 8-inch Snake Found Dead on Haines Road
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