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The Most Snake-Infested Rivers in Arizona

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The Most Snake-Infested Rivers in Arizona

By Chanel Coetzee,1 day ago

While there are no water snakes native to Arizona, some invasive semi-aquatic species occupy areas in the state that are close to a water source. Most of the water snakes in the US occur in the southeastern parts of the country. However, some are found as far north as New England. However, all snake species can swim, while several are semi-aquatic, so seeing serpents in rivers, dams, and lakes is not unusual. Below is a list of the most snake-infested rivers in Arizona and what you should do if you see one.

Water Snakes Found in Arizona Rivers

There are several semi-aquatic water snakes that inhabit Arizona’s rivers, including:

Black-necked Garter Snake

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When visiting Sabino Canyon, guests often see black-necked snakes along the creek, usually in the riparian area.©Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com95,331 People Couldn’t Ace This QuizThink You Can?

The black-necked garter snake occurs throughout southeastern and central Arizona. These snakes are semi-aquatic and generally found near water sources along semi-permanent streams and in rocky upland canyons. When visiting Sabino Canyon, guests often see black-necked snakes along the creek, usually in the riparian area. Snake enthusiasts typically visit this area when the creek flow diminishes, as these snakes are often sighted near the remaining pools of water, where they hunt for food.

Checkered Garter Snake

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Checkered garter snakes are often sighted near water sources, like lakes, rivers, canals, wetlands, cattle tanks, and ditches. These snakes live in arid areas, so they are surprisingly good at locating water sources.©iStock.com/slowmotiongli

The checkered garter snake is mostly found in desert and grassland habitats in southeastern Arizona. They are often sighted near water sources, like lakes, rivers, canals, wetlands, cattle tanks, and ditches. These snakes live in arid areas, so they are surprisingly good at locating water sources.

Mexican Garter Snake

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The Mexican garter snake primarily occurs in Arizona. However, there are scattered populations in southwestern New Mexico.©IrinaK/Shutterstock.com

The Mexican garter snake primarily occurs in Arizona. However, there are scattered populations in southwestern New Mexico. These snakes inhabit marshes, rivers, stock tanks, lake impoundments, and fish hatcheries, and they occur at lower elevations than their cousins, the narrow-headed garter snake.

Banded Water Snake

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Banded water snakes are excellent hunters and have a high reproduction rate, so they compete with native species for food and space.©EdwinWilke/Shutterstock.com

Also known as the Southern banded water snake, the banded water snake is an invasive species that occurs in Arizona. These snakes aren’t harmful to humans, but they do negatively impact native species. Furthermore, they can sometimes alter the ecosystem. Banded water snakes are excellent hunters and have a high reproduction rate, so they compete with native species for food and space.

Narrow-headed Garter Snake

Unfortunately, the narrow-headed garter snake is of special concern in the USA because of its fast decline over native habitats throughout the country. However, Oak Creek in Arizona has always housed the largest population of these snakes in the United States.

Most Snake-Infested Rivers in Arizona

1. Colorado River

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The Colorado River is one of the most snake-infested rivers in Arizona. It is home to five semi-aquatic snakes, the banded water snake, the black-neck garter snake, the Great Basin gopher snake, the Nothern water snake, and the Plains garter snake.
Image: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

The Colorado River is often referred to as the hardest-working river in the West. It’s a unique and diverse river that passes through 11 various national parks and monuments as it snakes through the different landscapes of two countries and seven states. Furthermore, it is an essential water supply for industry, agriculture, and municipalities from Tijuana to Denver. As a result, it supports a $1.4 trillion annual economy. This river offers plenty of recreational activities, like boating, fishing, whitewater paddling, backpacking, hiking, w