Snakes that can be found in the southern Florida area such as Naples include both venomous and non-venomous snakes.
There are several types of venomous snakes in Florida such as the Diamondback Rattlesnakes, Pygmy Rattlesnake, Cottonmouth, Copperhead, and the colorful tiny but deadly Coral Snake.
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is one of the largest and most dangerous venomous snakes in Florida. It is considered to be one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. This is one snake not to trifle with because of its large size, quantity of venom, aggressive defensive tactics and striking speed. The diamondback has diamond shaped body markings with a yellow border. The tail's end forms button-shaped segments for the rattler. It's arrow shaped head is wider than it's neck. The diamondback is found all over Florida, as far north as the Carolinas and west to the Sabine River. The eastern diamondback can most commonly be found in pine woods, abandoned fields, and brushy or grassy areas.
The pygmy rattlesnake, also known as ground rattler, is also common all over Florida. It can also be found as far north as South Carolina and west to Mississippi. Typically they are found in areas that have lakes, ponds, or marshes. The small and slender rattle produces a warning buzzing noise, like that of an insect, that can only be heard from a few feet away. A bite causes pain and produces swelling which typically subsides in a few days. No deaths have been recorded. Small but thick this snake is gray in color and has round dusky spots that alternate black and a reddish color. Pygmy rattlers are typically less than 18 inches long.
Cottonmouth is a subspecies of the copperhead and neither have rattlers. Florida is the southern most border for the copperhead and their have been few sightings of them. The cottonmouth is far more common in Florida. It is found throughout the state. The copperhead is tan with reddish brown crossbands across the body. It is usually around 30 inches in length. Young cottonmouths have frequently been mistaken for copperheads. The cottonmouth varies from olive brown to black and may or may not have crossbands. The cottonmouth also has a scale that protrudes above each eye. When disturbed a cottonmouth will typically recoil but does not have to in order to strike. The cottonmouth can usually be found along stream banks, swamps, margins of lakes and tree bordered marshes. It usually hunts at night.
The coral snake's venom is the most potent of North American snakes. These snakes a usually less than 24 inches long. They are often confused with the Scarlet Kingsnake. For the Florida region remember "red touch yellow, kill a fellow; red touch black good for jack." The coral snakes pattern in other regions of the world is not necessarily the same. The coral is typically found near pine woods, pond and lake borders, and in the Florida-hammock's jungle-esk growth. The coral snake favors places such as rotting logs, old brush piles, and heavy fallen leaf cover.
There are also many types of non-venomous snakes that can be found in Florida's Marco Island region. This includes such snakes as Racer and Coachwhip, Rat Snakes, Kingsnake, Hognose Snake, Garter and Ribbon Snakes, and Water Snakes and "Moccasins".
The racer and coachwhip are common throughout Florida. The southern black racer is black, usually 36-60 inches in length and is usually found in brush and shrub type areas that are near water. They hunt during the day for animals such as frogs, rats, insects, birds, etc... When they feel threatened their tails will vibrate, this has caused them to be mistaken for rattlesnakes. The coachwhip has many similar characteristics but can grow up to eight feet long and the head and front quarter area colorered a black or dark brown fading to tan on the rest of the body.
Rat snakes are frequently mistaken for copperheads because of its coloring. There are two types of rat snakes native to Florida and vary greatly in color. The red rat snake generally varies in a shade of yellowish-tan to orange, with a row of large, dark-edged red or rusty blotches down the center of the back. The other species of rat snake is called different things to better match its appearance. The "white oak" or gray rat snake is mostly in the panhandle of Florida and is gray with dark gray splotches along its back. This is similar to the young of the species. In the southern portions of Florida they are called "chicken" or yellow rat snakes. This is due to the orange coloring with slim brown stripes going the length of the snake's body. Rat snakes are found just about everywhere in Florida. They prefer places such as in trees, under brush or mulch, and inside old buildings.
The kingsnake is most often found near water in mainland Florida. The kingsnake is generally 36-48 inches and while the color pattern varies greatly they are known for their black and yellow chin. They are known as the kingsnake due to their fondness for eating other snakes, especially rattlesnakes and other pit vipers. They can do this because their venom does not affect them.
The hognose snake has two types in Florida the eastern and the southern. Hognose snakes received their name due to their sharply upturned nose which helps them in finding frogs, their preferred meal. The eastern can be found throughout Florida while the southern stays in the northern half of Florida. While eastern hognoses can be solid black most are brown and tan or yellow blotches like the southern. Eastern hognoses are usually 20-23 inches in length and the southerns will never exceed 24 inches. Hognoses have elaborate defensive tactics. They will hiss, puff and jerk around, raise their head, flatten their head so they look cobra-esk, release a foul smelling scent, strike at the attacker without opening their mouth, and play dead. All of this does not always protect themselves against people who mistake them for pygmy rattlesnakes and kill them.
Some rather common snakes all over Florida are the garter and ribbon snakes. Mostly found near water and wetlands they have stripe(s) running along the length of their body usually green, blue, yellow or tan in color. The base color is usually black, brown, or green. They are both slim snakes but the garter 18-26 inches where as the ribbon won't exceed 40 inches. Both are good climbers and enjoy low shrubs. They are both tend to be nervous and are fast preferring to flee when possible. Be aware they are both known to release a pungent musk when handled.
While most water Snakes and "Moccasins" are non-venomous the cottonmouth water moccasin is venomous. Other water snakes are often mistaken for the cottonmouth because they bear have pretty much they same appearance and can be up to four feet long. One main difference is that the cottonmouth has a scale that protrudes above each eye. Along with appearing more bug-eyed the non-venomous water snakes have a more rounded head.