Snake Watch 2023 1st Quarter Report

The Snake Watch Project began in 2022 to determine which species of snake people encountered in the Pensacola Bay area, where they were seeing them, and when they were seeing them.  The project has received more attention this year and the number of encounters has increased.  Here are the results of the first quarter of 2023.


During the first quarter of 2023, 57 reports were logged.  This included 13 of the 40 known species in the bay area.  This is 850% increase in reports and a 160% increase in species over the first quarter of 2022.


Type Number By Type Number by Species
Small Snakes 1 Florida Red-bellied (2)
Mid-sized Snakes 2 Eastern Garter (2)

Eastern Ribbon (2)

Large Snakes 5 Kingsnake (1)

Florida Pine (1)

Gray Rat (2)

Corn (2)

Southern Black Racer (10)

Water Snakes 3 Banded Water (15)

Brown Water (2)

Eastern Green Water (3)

Venomous Snakes 1 Cottonmouth (10)
Exotic Snakes 1 Brahminy Blind (1)
TOTAL 13 57



Month Records Location Species
January 4 Ft. Pickens Cottonmouth

Eastern Ribbon

    Beulah Eastern Garter
February 19 Roy Hyatt Environmental Center Eastern Garter

Banded Water

Southern Black Racer

Eastern kingsnake

    UWF Trails Gray Rat

Banded Water

Brown Water

    Gulf Breeze Banded Water

Eastern Ribbon

    Ft. Pickens Banded Water
    FDEP Nursery Banded Water
    Navarre Southern Black Racer
    Blackwater Southern Black Racer

Florida Pine

    East Milton Corn

Eastern Ribbon

    Big Lagoon State Park Cottonmouth
March 34 Blackwater Cottonmouth

Southern Black Racer

Banded Water

    Bayou Grande Cottonmouth

Banded Water

    Gulf Breeze Cottonmouth

Southern Black Racer

Banded Water

Eastern Garter

    Beulah Cottonmouth

Southern Black Racer

Banded Water

Eastern Green Water

    Perdido Key State Park Cottonmouth

Southern Black Racer

    Bayou Marcus boardwalk Cottonmouth
    Innerarity Point Southern Black Racer
    East Hill Southern Black Racer

Brahminy Blind (exotic)

    Milton Southern Black Racer
    Cantonment Banded Water

Florida Red-Bellied

Eastern Garter

    Sorrento Road Banded Water

Brown Water

    FDEP Nursery Florida Red-Bellied
    Navarre Corn



Just as last year, the large species are most often reported and most likely due to ease of detecting.

Southern Black Racers and Cottonmouths continue to be common.  But this year the most frequently encountered snake during the 1st quarter was the banded water snake.  This snake was common in 2022 but not until the 2nd quarter.


There are three possible explanations for the drastic increase in 1st quarter reports in 2023.  (1) There was less rainfall this winter compared to last, and this may have made snakes move more seeking suitable habitat. (2) With reduced rain and warmer temperatures this year, snakes began their breeding periods earlier. (3) We have more participation in the project and thus more sightings.  It could very well be that banded water snakes were moving earlier in 2022 and no one was out looking for them.


One big highlight from the first quarter was the sighting of a Florida Pine Snake.  This is now a rare species, and one of concern with FWC.  To see one is a special thing.


We are currently logging encounters for the 2nd Quarter.  We encourage you to report any snakes you see to Rick O’Connor –

Corn Snake.
Photo: Jessica Bickell

Posted: April 27, 2023

Category: Natural Resources, Wildlife
Tags: Florida Sea Grant, Pensacola Snakes

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories