Identifying Baby Snakes

By Regina Sass

Types of Scales

One way pet baby snakes can be identified is by the look and feel of their scales. The milk snake has smooth scales, giving it a glossy appearance. The gopher snake has a combination of scales, strongly keeled on the back and smooth on the sides. The king snake has smooth shiny scales with a glossy look. The baby ball python has scales that are very smooth. The corn snake is another variety with smooth looking and feeling scales as is the baby red tailed boa

Head and Neck

Once you know the type of scales the baby snake has, you can check out the features of the head and neck to add another piece of the picture. The head of a baby milk snake has a pattern like the body with a Y or a V inside one reddish or brown blotch. The gopher snake has a dark line that runs between the eyes and one the goes from behind the eyes to the jaw. The head of the king snake is wider than the neck, with scales that resemble a plate and very bulging eyes. The head of a baby ball python will look very small in relation to its body, which is very stocky. The baby corn snake looks like it does not even have a head; it looks like an extension of its body. The red tailed boa has a head that is wider than the body with a brownish red line running between the eyes, which will be the same color as the spots.

Body Color and Pattern

The most distinguishing identifying feature, which when combined with the others, tells you what type the baby snake is, is the color pattern on the body. A baby milk snake has a very bold pattern consisting of a body that can vary from a light gray to tan. The body has patterns of two black bands surrounding reddish brown blotches. They will be larger on the side than they are on the bottom. The pattern is very similar to that of a copperhead with the one difference being that the copperhead does not have a pattern on the head. The baby gopher snake can be cream/green, green/gray or tan with blotches in black, brown or red. The baby king snake has many sub-species and they all have a distinctive pattern which can be red, yellow, orange, tan, black or white that can appear as bands, rings, stripes, patches, spots or speckles. The baby ball python is generally black with blotches of brown or green on the sides and the underside is white or off white and sometimes has black marks. The corn snake got its name because the pattern looks like kernels of Indian corn. The baby red tailed boa has a body that is reddish brown, turning to brick red on the tail.