Published on Fri, 10/12/2018 by Nature Conservancy of Canada

Twelve fascinating facts about Canadian snakes


World Reptile Day is on October 21, 2018

In honour of World Reptile Day, here are some interesting tidbits about Canada's native snake species:

  1. In Canada, the blue racer snake is found only on Pelee Island.
  2. When threatened, the eastern hog-nosed snake plays dead by rolling over and sticking out its tongue.
  3. Red-back salamanders are the northern ring-necked snake’s favourite meal.
  4. Although it vibrates its tail when threatened, the milksnake is actually a constrictor.
  5. The smooth greensnake is excellent at camouflaging itself among shrubs and grasses.
  6. Eastern foxsnakes can both climb trees and swim.
  7. The common gartersnake is the most commonly distributed reptile in Canada.
  8. The harmless eastern hog-nosed snake mimics cobras and rattlesnakes to ward off threats.
  9. The gray ratsnake is Canada’s largest species of snake.
  10. The queen snake is aquatic and non-venomous, and at maturity can reach lengths of 60-90 centimetres.
  11. Despite its fearsome reputation, the massasauga rattlesnake, Ontario’s only venomous snake, is shy and docile and avoids human contact whenever possible.
  12. The eastern foxsnake is globally rare, existing only around the Great Lakes basin in southern Ontario, Michigan and Ohio.


To learn more about the Nature Conservancy of Canada, visit


on_-_blue_racer_photo_by_joe_crowley.jpgBlue Racer - by Joe Crowley (JPG)2.29 MB