Are There Snakes in Alaska?

Curious about if Alaska has snakes? This guide has all the details you need to know. 

Many people wonder “are there snakes in Alaska?” This is an important question whether you are moving to Alaska or just plan to spend a few weeks visiting. Most people are happy to find out that in Alaska snakes are rare to find and not venomous.

There have been more sightings of snakes within the past few years though so it’s always a good idea to research the snakes you might potentially see while in this beautiful state. 

Alaska- backpacking

Are there snakes in Alaska?

Official reports are that there are no snakes in Alaska. The state is considered a snake-free state.

However, a few travelers report that this is not true as they have seen snakes while traveling around Alaska. 

For a long time, Alaska boast itself as being snake free. As a result, travelers loved going around wooded and rural areas in the state without having to worry about potential snake bites. 

Just in the last decade or so though Alaska residents and travelers have reported seeing more snakes. 

Garter snakes are the most common snake you could potentially see while in Alaska. The good news is that this snake and other snakes in Alaska are generally not poisonous.

So, you can enjoy hiking and other outdoor activities without being overly concerned. 

Even though garter snake sightings have recently increased, they are still rare. 

Why are there no snakes in Alaska?

Alaska doesn’t have snakes or many reptiles because of the harsh cold weather. Snakes are ectotherms, so they need plenty of warmth and sunlight to keep their bodies healthy. 

If you do spot a snake in Alaska, it would most likely be in the summer when temperatures are high. 

Your chances of seeing snakes in Alaska once the ground is snowy and frozen are very slim. 

Why are there reported snake sightings in Alaska?

Most of the snake sightings in Alaska are the common garter snake. Some wildlife experts think the increase in snake sightings might be because of snakes living south of Alaska migrating up north. 

There have also been a few snake sightings of someone’s pet snake that escaped from the house somehow.

What kind of snake can be seen in Alaska?

Not many snakes are found in Alaska so your chances of seeing one are extremely low, especially if you are staying in the cities or visiting during the winter months. 

Alaska’s harsh winters and the short sunlight hours for half of the year make it very hard for snakes to survive. 

The only snake that could potentially survive these conditions is the garter snake making it the most commonly sighted snake in the state. 

Are garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) venomous?

Garter snakes have very mild venom. They are not good at excreting the venom though so even travelers who are bit find that they have no symptoms or pain. There have been cases of swelling and bruising though. 

If you think you have been bitten by a garter snake, it’s best to go to the nearest hospital. They can identify the snake bite and determine if treatment is needed.  

The symptoms experienced by a garter snake bite are usually not as serious compared to bites from venomous snakes. 

Do these snakes attack?

Garter snakes do not usually attack. If you happen to step near one, they are more likely to scurry away than bite you. 

Like all snakes though, if they are threatened, they are more likely to attack. They will coil before attacking so you will have fair warning if one is coming for you. 

Are There Snakes in Alaska? You may see this kind of Garter snakes
Garter snakes Alaska

Where can they be found in Alaska?

Garter snakes are not everywhere in Alaska. Most people who have seen them while traveling are in the Alaskan panhandle in the southeastern part of the state. 

What do you do if you find one?

If you see a garter snake, you don’t have to do anything special. You should just get away from the general area where you spotted them as they could potentially attack you if you get too close. 

You can also report the sighting to the US Fish and Wildlife Service as they can use the number of sightings to warn other people in the area if they feel like the population is growing. 

What do they eat?

Most garter snakes are small so they eat insects, worms, small fish, small frogs, and small amphibians. Larger garter snakes might eat rodents or small birds. 

Where can you see snakes in Alaska?

You can’t see snakes in most parts of Alaska. The Alaskan panhandle is the most common place to see snakes but only the garter snake is spotted there. 

The Alaska Zoo also has a few snakes but they are safely in cages so you don’t have to worry about bites. But we are also discouraging people from visiting zoos in general.

Are there reptiles in Alaska?

Alaska has very few reptiles. This is mostly due to the cold weather and very little sunlight. So, you will see hardly any snakes, lizards, or freshwater turtles. 

The only reptile that is native to Alaska is the sea turtle, but these are also very rare to see. 

Alaska- Denali National park
Alaska- Denali National Park – Photo from Canv

Other Countries and States with No Snakes

There are not many countries in the world without snakes. Some of the only places you can travel without worrying about these slithering creatures are Iceland, Greenland, New Zealand, and Anaractacia. 

The only two states in the USA without snakes are Alaska and Hawaii. The other 48 states are known to have snakes. No matter what state you’re in, you’re more likely to spot snakes and other reptiles when the weather is warm. 


Are Alaskan snow snakes real?

Alaskan snow snakes are not real. Snakes are not active in cold weather so they are not usually not found near snow. Snow snakes are only a create that exists in Alaskan folklore tales. 

Are there rattlesnakes in Alaska?

No, there are no rattlesnakes in Alaska. The state’s weather conditions make it hard for rattlesnakes to live. 

Can you buy a pet snake in Alaska?

You can buy nonvenomous pet snakes in Alaska. Poisonous snakes are not allowed to be kept as pets. If you’re found with a venomous pet snake or even eggs that belong to a venomous snake, you can be fined and the reptile will be taken away from you. 

Are there poisonous spiders in Alaska?

Yes. Alaska has a few species of poisonous spiders that you need to look out for when traveling or living in the state. The good news is that Alaska does not have native deadly spiders. 

One of the most dangerous animals in Alaska is the brown recluse spider. Their venom is very potent and it can make you sick for weeks. If you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse or a spider you can’t identify, it’s a good idea to see a doctor while in Alaska. 

Hobo spiders can also be found in Alaska. They mostly live in the Alaskan Panhandle. Spiders are one of the only insects that are still very active in the winter, so you might find spiders in Alaska no matter what season you’re visiting. 

What dangerous animals are found in Alaska?

If you’re asking “does Alaska have snakes?” you might also be wondering what other dangerous animals are found in Alaska. Most of the animals that are considered dangerous are not snakes or reptiles. 

Instead, Alaska has some very large mammals that could potentially be a danger to people if they are not careful. 

Here are some of the most dangerous animals in Alaska to be aware of:

  • Grizzly bears: These are some of the most dangerous bears to look out for as they can be territorial and often attack without being provoked. Alaska also has black bears but they tend to be less aggressive. 
  • Moose: You might spot moose in Alaska if you are hiking or out in the wild. Because of their size and antlers, they can be a serious threat to travelers. Their behavior is also very unpredictable. 
  • Wolves: These animals usually don’t cause an issue unless they are threatened. They are much more likely to attack other animals rather than humans. 
  • Walrus: When in a boat in Alaska, make sure not to get too close to walruses as they can easily overthrow a small boat. 
  • Polar Bears: These animals are rare to spot since they only live in extremely cold conditions. Sightings have been reported though. 

Alaska is also home to Caribou, flying squirrels, and bison. 

Conclusion: Are there snakes in Alaska?

So, does Alaska have snakes? Snakes are very rare because of the cold weather. Sightings of the mostly harmless garter snake have increased in the last year though so it doesn’t hurt to be careful when in forests and grassy rural areas. 

If you’re scared of snakes, Alaska is one of the best places for you to travel to since you can enjoy your vacation and outdoor activities without watching your every step.