The great majority of snakes are generally non-venomous, but let’s see which of them are the most common non-poisonous snake species in the world. Non-poisonous snakes are found almost everywhere in the world, except some places like Antarctica, Ireland, Iceland and Newfoundland. New Zealand is also known for not having any indigenous snake species.
Even though considered non-venomous, some snake species do produce tiny portions of mild toxins by which they kill their prey, like garter snakes or some rat snakes. But of course, non-venomous snakes do have teeth which in this case are mostly used just for biting or grabbing their prey. On the other side, some of the largest snakes in the world like boas and pythons are totally non-venomous, and they kill their prey by constriction. Apart from constriction, other methods non-venomous snakes use for killing their prey is pressing them against the ground, and biting or swallowing their prey while still being alive.
Considering humans, the majority of non-venomous snakes are harmless, except for some of the big constrictor snakes. Some of these harmless snakes are often being held as pets because of their beautiful coloration and mild temperament. Anyhow, some of the pet snakes, especially abovementioned large constrictor snakes can sometimes act violently and strangle their owners, so handling snakes is not a naive thing. But to be sure which snakes you should certainly avoid, take a look at 20 Most Venomous Snakes in the World.
Snakes are divided into more than 20 families with around 3,400 recognized species and many subspecies. Most worldly widespread and the biggest snake family consisting mostly of non-venomous species is the Colubrid family, and snakes belonging to it are known as colubrids. There are around 2,000 members of Colubrid family known today, and they represent 2/3 of all snake species in the world.
Although a lot of snake species are highly adaptable, there is almost no snake species that can be found in every area where snakes are present. That is why there is no exact method of determining which non-poisonous snake is the most common in the world, since different kinds of snakes obviously inhabit different areas in the world, so finding the most common ones included localized search. That is why we have searched for non-venomous snakes by areas. We’ve gone through some of the most common non-poisonous snakes of Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas with the help of ReptilesOfAustralia, Indian Snakes, Herp, Rentokil, Snake Facts and Biodiversity Explorer. The final rating was done mainly by the information on how common the snake is and the width of the area they inhabit.
So, according to our research, the most common non-poisonous snake species in the world are:
10. African house snakes (Lamprophis genus)
These snakes are spread in whole sub-Saharan Africa. They inhabit many different environments, woodlands, savannahs grasslands, and are very common in urban areas, hence the name. Being nicely colored and harmless, they are also often being kept as pet snakes. There are fifteen species of African house snakes, of which seven are native to south Africa,and the most common is brown or common house snake.
9. Water snakes (Nerodia spp.)
So-called water snakes of Nerodia genus, native to North America are widely spread from Canada, throughout the US up to Mexico. Although named water snakes, these are not aquatic snakes, though they do spend a lot of time in the water. They are heavily built snakes, with the average length of 4 feet. Perhaps the most common of water snakes, and also largest of them is the diamondback water snake. They are sometimes being mistaken for highly venomous cottonmouth snakes because of the similar looks. Although variable in color, they are usually darker brown, gray or olive green with darker patches. They are defensive snakes and will not hesitate to attack if feeling threatened.
8. Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis genus)
Kingsnakes, the number 8 on our list of most common non-poisonous snake species in the world are widely distributed and one of the most common non-poisonous snakes in North America. Kingsnakes count around 45 subspecies. They are slender, medium-sized (2-6 feet on average) vividly colored snakes with shiny scales (that’s where their Latin name comes from) that many people find attractive and own as pets. Perhaps the common name kingsnake for this species comes from the interesting fact that these snakes often fight other snakes, and also eat them. According to some reseraches, compared with the proportions of various snakes and their muscle mass, kingsnakes are the strongest constrictors in the world.
7. Javelin sand boa (Eryx jaculus)
Javelin sand boa, the next one on the list of most common non-poisonous snake species in the world is the only snake from the boidae family inhabiting Europe, and three subspecies are known. Apart from Europe (where it is found mostly in Mediterranean parts), it is present throughout the Middle East and northern Africa. The average length of this snake is 21 inches. Since it inhabits variable environments, the coloration also varies, being grayish, brownish, or reddish with a darker irregular line of blotches or bands on the dorsal (backs) side. Preferable habitats are drier warmer semi-desert lands, but also cultivated areas and coastal Mediterranean areas.
6. Common wolf snake (Lycodon capucinus)
This snake species, the number 6 on our list of most common non-poisonous snake species in the world is common in southeastern Asia and Australia. It is also named common house snake, because it is often found in urban areas, in parks and households. Although non-venomous, these snakes are defensive and will not hesitate to attack, and they also possess large canines. Apart from tropical forests, it is a usual snake species wandering around cultivated and urban areas.
5. Common tree snakes (Dednrelaphis punctulata)
Although there are 40 species of tree snakes (Dendrelaphis genus), widely spread throughout southeastern Asia and Australia, we have chosen the common tree snake as the representative, because some of the tree snakes are venomous (like brown tree snake for example). This kind of tree snakes inhabits Australia and Papua New Guinea. Common tree snake is also known as a green snake, yellow-bellied black snake or grass snake. These are very slender yet long snakes, with the average body length of 3,9 feet. They inhabit various environments, like forests and rainforests, but also dry woodland and urban areas.
4. Pythons (Pythonidae family)
We are continuing our list of most common non-poisonous snake species in the world with Pythons that are large constrictor snakes spread throughout Africa, Asia, and Australia. There are 31 species and 17 subspecies of pythons currently recognized. Being one of the longest snakes, but also being adapted to various habitats, their body size varies from just 24 inches (like anthill python for example) to 30 feet (reticulated python, also being the longest snake in the world). Pythons inhabit warm climate areas, preferring tropical forests and rainforests, but are also found in other habitats in warm areas. The coloration of pythons depends on their surroundings, since they are nicely camouflaged, being uniformly colored (like olive python) or having nice patterns on the dorsal (backs) side like reticulated pythons or carpet pythons. Pythons are common non-poisonous snakes in America also, because of the great demand for them as pets, but they are often being released in the wild by their owners, where they have adapted nicely especially in warm environments such as Florida.
3. Grass snake (Natrix natrix)
Grass snake, the next one on the list of most common non-poisonous snake species in the world is also known under the name water snake or ringed snake, because it dwells in the proximity of fresh waters. The range this snake covers is the whole Europe, Middle East, Asia and northernmost ridges of Africa. Therefore, inhabiting a variety of climate zones, they are very adaptable species found in many ecosystems preferring grassland and woodlands near rivers. They feed on amphibians, and are very good swimmers, and able to hold their breath up to 30 minutes. They are usually darker in color, nicely camouflaged in brown to olive green hues. Grass snakes inhabiting colder regions are darker in color which enables them better thermoregulation.
2. Rat snakes (Panterophis and Elaphe genus)
Interestingly, the Old and New World ret snakes are now considered to differ genetically more than previously thought, once belonging to the same genus Elaphe, these snakes were somewhat recently been divided into those belonging to Elaphe genus (referring to Old World rat snakes), and Pahterophis genus (the New world species). Apart from complicated classification, these snakes inhabit most of the Northern Hemisphere, from Japan, throughout Asia and Europe to the North American continent, therefore being found in many sizes and colors.
1. Brahminy blind snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)
Probably the most widespread and the first among the most common non-poisonous snake species in the world is the brahminy blind snake, named after Brahmin caste of priests in Hinduism. This snake has many common names, mostly known under names lowerpot snake, common blind snake, island blind snake, etc., spread throughout almost every continent and island. Maybe the most interesting fact about these snakes, apart from that they are completely blind, is that they are the only snake species that are unisexual, meaning there are no male brahminy blind snakes. That is why they have easily spread throughout the world – only one specimen is enough to create a new population. These are tiny snakes (being only around 7 inches long), and mostly resemble earthworms, both in looks and behavior, since they spend most of the time burrowing underground.