Snakes – Identification

Q: I often see snakes sunning near my backyard creek. I don’t want to harm them but I sure would like to identify them. Are there any simple guides?

A: You’re likely seeing various kinds of non-poisonous water snakes but dry-land rat snakes and brown snakes could be looking for a meal by the creek. Moccasins could be hanging out there as well. The best online guide I know of is maintained by the Davidson College Herpetology Lab. See http://xrl.us/SNAKEID. To identify all manner of turtles, snakes and lizards I often use  “Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia” (University of Georgia Press).