Snakes of Oakland, CA

Oakland snake

Welcome to! I am David, a snake enthusiast living in Oakland, CA. Many people don't know that Oakland is in fact full of snakes! You just need to know where to find them - they can often be shy and elusive. Some California snake species are more common outside of the city limits, in different parts of Alameda County CA, but many types of snakes are indeed common in the more urban parts of Oakland. This guide is meant to help educate you about the beautiful snakes of Oakland, and to help you identify the most common snakes of Oakland, as well as the venomous snakes of Oakland that you should learn to recognize and avoid. If you want more detail, click here for my complete list of ALL snake species in Oakland. Remember the following:

  • Most snakes of Oakland are harmless and don't want to encounter you
  • Venomous snakes exist but are uncommon in Oakland, California
  • Snakes eat rats and mice and are a valuable part of the California ecosystem
  • Never kill a snake - if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone.

Common Snake Species in Oakland

Oakland snake Garter Snake: In California, you can barely visit 10 household gardens without the possibility of finding a garter snake. These harmless snakes are one of the most common snakes in Oakland California. Their harmless nature makes many homeowners neglect them and allow them to roam freely when they find them around. Garter snakes are colorful reptiles with two to three stripes or light bands. Their head is usually wide and large to enable them to swallow large prey with ease. Although, their body is small and slender.

Oakland snake Western Racer: The western racer is another common snake you will find crawling in the metropolis of Oakland California. These snakes as either green, brown, or grey depending on the season of the year. The younger ones are lighter in color while the older ones are darker. Western racers are fast-moving climbers and daylight-loving reptiles. If you are not quick enough, you will hardly catch up with it when trying to find it. Naturally, their average length is between two to three feet and they prefer to feed on lizards, eggs, insects, and other smaller snakes.

Oakland snake Ring-Neck Snake: There are several common snakes out here in Oakland California, but this particular snake is one of a kind. Just as its name suggests, ring-neck snakes have a ring-shaped pattern around their neck. This particular feature makes it very easy for anyone that looks close enough to identify them. However, they are nocturnal reptiles that stay hidden during the daytime. As a result of this, you might never come across it if you don't stay out late often. Ring-neck snakes have venoms, but they are of no serious threats to humans. More so, they will prefer to stay hidden rather than expose themselves to a fight. In California, you will encounter more of this kind of snake in watery areas where there is an abundance of frogs, earthworms, salamanders, lizards, and slugs.

Oakland snake Coachwhip: The coachwhip is another snake you are most likely to see more often in Oakland California. Unlike most snakes in this area, it has different color patterns which usually range between yellow, brown, orange, tan, and banded darker stripes. The color patterns on their head are usually darker than that of the body. When it comes to capturing their prey and escaping predators, the only element of surprise that the coachwhip has is its ability to easily camouflage in sandy soil.

Venomous Snake Species in Oakland

Oakland snake Mojave Rattlesnake: This particular snake is one to be feared. The venom of this snake is known to be 10 times more potent than that of any other rattlesnake in the USA. With just a single bite, these large reptiles can take down any prey including humans. The venom of Mojave rattlesnakes attacks the skeletal system, the heart, and the neuromuscular junctions in the body causing immediate paralysis. Mojave rattlesnakes have a distinctive brownish coloration and brown patterns scattered all over their body. The average length of this snake is usually 4 feet.

Oakland snake Sidewinder: Though sidewinders are not as venomous as the snake mentioned above, these snakes still give very nasty bites of about 20 to 60mg of venom in just a bite. With just 40mg of venom, it's a dead-end for humans. Just as the name implies, the sidewinder crawls in a rhythmic side-winding movement when moving in a sandy environment which is its natural environment. In adulthood, these snakes are around 30 inches long.

If you're unsure, you can email me a photo of the snake at and I will email you back with the snake's species. If you found a snake skin, read my Found a Skin? page, and you can email me a photo of the skin, and I'll identify the snake for you. If you need professional Oakland snake removal help, click my Get Help page, or see the below website sponsor I found, who provides that service.

Will Snake Chase You?
If you think you are getting chased by this slithering reptile, you need to sit down, think for a while, and have a reality check. Some people with a creative mind claimed that the snake is chasing them while jogging or riding a bike. If you know about the snake's behavior and true nature, then this will definitely sound ludicrous.

Why is it Impossible for a Snake to Chase Humans?
Snakes will not chase humans simply because they don't see us as their prey. No snakes will attempt to catch a human since they think that we are a large predator. If you saw a snake moving towards your direction, this is not necessarily a snake that is chasing you. Snakes are not aggressive; as long as we give them enough space to retreat, they will instead choose to flee the scene rather than confront humans.

Perhaps, the only situation when a snake will attack a human is if you encounter a large constrictor snake such as the African Rock Python or the Burmese Python. Still, the foraging method of this snake is to lie and wait for their prey to come to them. They are so large that hunting actively may expend a lot of energy. So unless you accidentally set foot within the territory of these animals, they will not attack you.

How Can I Survive on My Snake Encounter?
If you want to ensure that you will not experience an attack from the snake, or at least you will survive, you need to remain alert when you are in the natural environment of the snake. You need to be very observant when you are going on a camping or hiking trip. You need to be aware of which places are likely to appear. Stay on the trail and avoid the tall grass. There is also a chance that the snake under the pile of leaves and the rocks. If you like rock climbing activities, you should also be cautious. There may be snakes that are hiding in the crannies and crevices of rocks.

Stay Calm- Avoid panicking. Keeping calm during this time will help you make the best decisions and may save your life. If you are already within reach of the snake's attack, avoid making any sudden movement. Never startle the animal since it may be already in an agitated state.
Walk Away- The best way to survive an attack from the snake is not to engage and stay away from it. If you give them space, the snake will likely escape once it sees you.

For those who have been bitten by the snake, be sure to seek immediate help, especially if you do not know how to determine if a venomous or non-venomous snake causes it. Do not make unnecessary movement since it can encourage the venom to move to your blood vessel. Any movement will encourage the venom to enter your blood plasma that will activate the effect of the venom.

Remember, the term is not poisonous snakes of Oakland, it's venomous snakes of Oakland. Poison is generally something you eat, and venom is injected into you. That said, dangerous snakes are very rare in Oakland. The few venomous snakes of Alameda County are rarely seen. But they are commonly misidentified, so learn about all the snake species of Oakland in order to correctly identify them. These snakes are usually also found in the surrounding towns of Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Leandro, Dublin, Castro Valley, Union City, Newark, Emeryville, Albany, Piedmont, San Lorenzo, Sunol, Cherryland, Ashland, Fairview and the surrounding areas.

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